UPDATE: Welp, bad news: A.J. Puk will undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. Dr. James Andrews said so. Puk, who was presumed to make his big league debut this year will now have to wait until the second half of the 2019 season at least.
Tuesday 7:08PM: Athletics pitching prospect A.J. Puk may have a ligament issue in his left elbow, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Puk, who is believed to have gone for second opinions, may eventually need Tommy John surgery.
The Athletics shut Puk down with what was termed “biceps soreness” last Wednesday. He put together a solid spring showing, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and six walks with seven strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. Puk gave up all four of those earned runs in his final appearance on March 15 against the Mariners, when the A’s noticed his velocity was down.
While Puk was unlikely to have made the Opening Day roster if he had stayed healthy, he might have been an early call-up. MLB Pipeline ranks Puk as the Athletics’ No. 1 prospect in the system.
Bad news for the Cubs’ Yu Darvish: The right-hander is headed back to the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis, the team announced Saturday. It’s the second such assignment for Darvish this season, but the first time he’s been sidelined with arm issues. Neither the severity of his injury nor a concrete timeframe for his recovery has been revealed yet, but the move is retroactive to May 23 and will allow him to come off the DL by June 2, assuming all goes well.
Prior to the injury, Darvish went 1-3 in eight starts with a 4.95 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 through 40 innings. Needless to say, these aren’t the kind of results the Cubs were hoping to see after inking the righty to a six-year, $126 million contract back in February, though the circumstances affecting his performances appear to have largely been out of his control. He missed a start in early May after coming down with the flu and has struggled to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of his eight starts to date.
The Cubs recalled left-hander Randy Rosario from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rosario has yet to amass more than five career innings in the majors, but has impressed at Triple-A so far this year: he maintained an 0.97 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 through 19 1/3 innings in 2018. As for Darvish’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, Tyler Chatwood is lined up to take the mound when the Cubs face off against the Giants in the series finale on Sunday. A starter for Monday night’s game has yet to be determined.