A.J. Puk sidelined again? A.J. Puk sidelined again.
A’s manager Bob Melvin served as the bearer of bad news on Friday afternoon, as he told reporters Puk will have unspecified shoulder surgery on Wednesday. The operation will be performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who may have surpassed Dr. James Andrews on the MLB surgeon power rankings.
Gotta feel bad for Puk, who’s often been touted as the Baby Big Unit (even after he cut his hair off). With his 6-foot-7 frame, 97+ mph fastball and mean slider, the 25-year-old has been shut down since throwing to batters on Sept. 4. He made it out of that outing reportedly without incident, but three days later, Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle reported that Puk missed his scheduled outing on Sunday.
At this point you really got to worry about Puk’s career. He’s ranked on MLB.com’s list as the top prospect in the organization but has never thrown more than 125 innings in a season, and been dogged by injuries since being drafted in 2016. He missed the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but that’s an elbow thing so this is a whole different beast.
Back in March, Puk visited ElAttrache about possible shoulder damage, but returned with good news.
Melvin on A.J. Puk post ElAttrache visit: “Nothing structurally wrong. We’ll probably do a few more days of strengthening before we’ll get him back playing catch again so I’m not sure what day we have targeted for him to start throwing again.”
— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) March 5, 2020
Puk took his time to recover and pitched during summer training, but he’s been on the 10-day injured list since aggravating the shoulder on July 20, shortly before the season started. Though Puk would have been a major addition to an already deadly bullpen, now the concern isn’t about 2020 but the long term. Would be nothing cooler to see Puk get back to Oakland and pitch in a rotation with Jesús Luzardo. Here’s to a speedy recovery for Puk.
On Friday, Slusser also shared an update on third baseman Matt Chapman.
Chapman getting second opinion on hip in Vail Colo today. Not unusual Melvin says.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 11, 2020
Man. Hope ManChap is OK, too!