A’s lefty prospect Puk gets injection in pitching shoulder

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Oakland Athletics left-hander A.J. Puk received an injection in his troublesome pitching shoulder and is likely to be sidelined for at least two weeks.

The prized prospect, who had been set to pitch in the rotation, is dealing with inflammation in the strained shoulder that also bothered him during spring training. He was given both cortisone and platelet rich plasma into the area after being examined Monday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Puk went on the 10-day injured list Monday.

“There’s some inflammation in there similar to what we saw in spring training,” manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday. “He’ll rest for 48 hours and then just go through a ramp up playing catch type of thing for probably two weeks. So it’s going to be a little bit of time before we see him.”

Right-hander Daniel Mengden is filling Puk’s spot at the back end of the rotation to begin the shortened 60-game season.

The 25-year-old Puk, the sixth overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft out of Florida, is yet to make a major league start. He went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA over 10 outings and 11 1/3 innings last August and September.

The A’s medical staff will be conservative not to push the 6-foot-7 Puk back too soon.

“Two weeks and that will not alter no matter how good he feels during that period of time,” Melvin said.

Fellow rookie lefty talent Jesus Luzardo is still catching up after testing positive for the coronavirus before the start of camp and going into quarantine despite experiencing no symptoms. Melvin said Luzardo is getting a couple of days rest then will throw another bullpen session before being ready to pitch in relief one of the first two games of the season. Like Puk, Luzardo is expected to start once he builds up his arm to throw several innings.

Oakland opens the regular season at home Friday night against the Angels.

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