Per a story on MLB.com, A.J. Puk, the A’s top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has been shut down with biceps soreness, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
While the A’s don’t believe the injury to be serious, the team is taking every precaution to make sure Puk does not further injure himself. An MRI done on Puk did not reveal any structural damage.
“We have several guys pitching pretty well right now, so he’s better off getting some innings down there now and refining his craft, which he’s done very well up to this point,” manager Bob Melvin said Sunday. “We’ll see where his timing is, but he had a very impressive camp.
“The strides that he’s made to get to where he is right now have been very significant. It’s just, when you’re skipping steps and you haven’t had that much time really at the Double-A level, let alone the Triple-A level, you just worry about where you go with him, so we want to make sure he catches all these levels and is that much more prepared once he gets here.”
A.J. Puk was originally drafted in the 35th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, but chose to play college ball for the University of Florida. He was ranked among the top prospects for the 2016 Major League Baseball draft in early rankings. Oakland selected him in the first round with the sixth overall pick of the draft. He signed a $4,069,200 contract with the A’s and was assigned to the Class A Short-Season Vermont Lake Monsters. He finished the 2016 season with an 0-4 record and a 3.03 ERA.
Puk spent 2017 with both the Midland RockHounds and the Stockton Ports, posting a combined 6-10 record with a 4.03 ERA, along with 184 strikeouts in 124 innings pitched, between both teams.
As Susan Slusser of sfchronicle.com wrote, a source revealed A.J. Puk should resume throwing “sometime fairly soon.”
Puk was sent to minor-league camp Sunday despite having only one poor inning all spring, his final inning Thursday against Seattle. He allowed four runs, the only earned runs in his 10 2/3 innings of work.
A.J. Puk is not the only pitcher who is injured that the Oakland A’s are dealing with. Slusser wrote starter Jharel Cotton was shut down with a torn ulnar-collateral ligament last week and was scheduled for Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.