Oakland A’s: A.J. Puk without a timeline to return yet again
By David Hill
At least the Oakland A’s were able to get one appearance out of A.J. Puk this year. The oft-injured pitcher is once again on the Injured List, this time with a strained left bicep. In theory, this should not be a long term concern, but given Puk’s history, one never knows.
That includes the A’s at this point. They are uncertain as to how long he will remain on the shelf, as he has not resumed throwing yet.
Yet another bump in the road for A.J. Puk
This is just the latest bump in the road for Puk as he looks to establish himself in the majors. The one time top prospect has endured a litany of injuries over the past few years, missing the entire 2018 and 2020 campaigns.
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Those injuries had already put Puk’s future role into question. While the A’s continue to hold out hope that he can eventually become the front line starter that he was expected to develop into, his arm does not seem capable of withstanding that type of workload. He pitched 3.1 innings in his one appearance thus far, which may have been more than he could handle.
Maybe Puk will fulfill the promise he has displayed. It is possible that this is just a minor setback, and Puk will be able to work his way into the A’s rotation. But he will need to show that he can remain healthy in such a role. With every injury, that question becomes louder.
Although it would be somewhat disappointing to have Puk in the bullpen, it would not be the worst scenario. His fastball/slider combination could make him a dominant force in the back of the A’s bullpen, potentially as their closer of the future. But he has to stay on the mound for that to happen.
A.J. Puk has yet to begin a throwing program and will remain on the Injured List. At this point, one has to wonder if he will ever fulfill his potential.