SEPT. 18: The A’s are optimistic Puk, who underwent a debridement and cleanout of his shoulder, will be ready for spring training next year, Slusser tweets. He could start throwing again in 10 weeks.
A healthy Puk is regarded as one of the majors’ premier pitching prospects, but he has had a hard time staying off the shelf in recent years. The 2016 first-round pick (No. 6 overall) underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, forcing him to miss all of that season and most of last year, and hasn’t pitched at all in 2020 as a result of shoulder troubles. Now that he’s going back under the knife, his season’s obviously over.
It’s unclear whether this latest surgery will be serious enough to affect Puk’s availability for 2021, but the hope is that he’ll make it back to the mound in relatively short order and realize his potential. The 25-year-old was terrific during an 11 1/3-inning debut out of the A’s bullpen last year, when he averaged 97 mph on his fastball, gave up four earned runs on 10 hits and five walks, and amassed 13 strikeouts. In the wake of that showing, Puk seemed to be in line for a season-opening rotation spot heading into this year, but the shoulder issues he has battled since the spring prevented that from happening and stopped him from taking the mound at all in 2020.