Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s lefties A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo will each begin a rehab stint on Tuesday with High-A Stockton. Puk will be making his first live-game mound appearance since undergoing Tommy John Surgery last April, while Luzardo, who’d been dealing with left shoulder soreness, will appear in an official game for the first time since last August.
Puk, a 6’7 lefty who was the sixth overall pick in the 2016 draft, had laid waste to the minors before his injury in the Spring of last season. His “double-plus” fastball and “vicious” (adjectives per Baseball America) slider allowed him to post double-digit strikeout rates in each of his three minor-league stops, culminating in a 61-inning stint for Double-A Midland in which the U of Florida product set down 86 batters in just 64 innings. It’ll surely be a lengthy rehab process for the projected ace, though it appears the club will use him in relief should he crack the majors this season.
Luzardo, a 21-year-old Peruvian-born hurler, was acquired in mid-2017 from Washington with Blake Treinen for relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. Little known at the time of the deal, Luzardo has rocketed up prospect lists after dominating performances of his own the last two seasons. Baseball America ranked him as the top lefty in the minors after 2018, waxing especially thorough on his changeup, which the site ranks as one of the minors’ best. Shoulder injuries are always cause for serious concern, but if Luzardo can make it through his first few outings unscathed, he’ll be a strong candidate to crack what’s been a middling A’s rotation thus far.