It’s been a tough week for young Oakland A’s pitchers.
On Friday, 26-year-old Jharel Cotton found out that he needs season-ending Tommy John surgery after a promising spring.
On Tuesday, the A’s announced that top pitching prospect A.J Puk will miss the season for the same procedure to repair a damaged ulnar collateral ligament.
The #Athletics announce P A.J. Puk will undergo Tommy John surgery. That's tough, 10 days ago some folks thought he was pitching well enough to be opening day starter.
— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) March 28, 2018
Puk, a 6-foot-7-inch 23-year-old who throws in the mid 90s and has drawn comparisons to Randy Johnson, had a strong spring and was poised to be fast-tracked to the majors, according to the San Jose Mercury News. He struck out 184 batters in 125 innings in the minors last year.
Puk posted a 3.38 ERA with seven strikeouts and six walks in 10.2 innings this spring. He left a game on March 15 when his velocity dropped, the Mercury News reports, and little was known about his condition until Tuesday when orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews recommended the procedure.
“Dr. James Andrews was consulted after an initial diagnosis by Dr. Doug Freedberg in Arizona, and it has been recommended that Puk undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm,” the A’s announced.
Assuming Puk was on his way up to the A’s, that leaves Oakland without a pair of projected starters for the season. Cotton had shown signs of improvement this spring with a 3.75 ERA, 16 strikeouts and six walks through 12 innings after struggling to a 9-10 record with a 5.68 ERA last season in 24 starts.
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