Oakland Athletics

Top A’s prospect A.J. Puk on IL with shoulder strain

A.J. Puk has hit the IL right before the start of the season.

The Oakland A’s are coming off back-to-back 97-win seasons and are a legitimate contender to compete for a World Series in a shortened 2020 MLB season. Getting back the strong core from 2019 is a key recipe for success this year.

One player who was expected to contribute more was pitcher A.J. Puk. He is ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the organization, according to MLB.com, and made his MLB debut last year. Unfortunately, some bad news has come out regarding Puk.

A.J. Puk hits the IL

Puk on the IL is terrible news right before the start of the season. The 2016 No. 6 overall pick is a 6-foot-7 southpaw who looked great in 10 appearances at the end of last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The hype has been real, and this is just another setback for a pitcher waiting for his time to shine.

Puk missing time in 2020 may not be the end of the world if he can show up in 2021 fully healthy. Yet it is still a bummer as he just can’t seem to catch a break in recent years. Posting 13 strikeouts in 11.2 innings of work last season gave A’s fans a sneak peek of what is to come.

The left-hander just turned 25 years old in April, so it’s not like this injury will derail his career. Hopefully, the team is just being cautious. This injury may also be a sign of things to come as pitchers get back into a full workload after a short Spring Training 2.0.

Next: Who is the biggest challenger to the Astros in the AL West?

There is still a chance Puk can return this year and play for the A’s. However, his long-term health is most important. Having him sit out during a 60-game season may end up being the best move.

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