OAKLAND -- The A’s are feeling optimistic about the future of A.J. Puk after the left-hander underwent successful shoulder surgery on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
The procedure, performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan Jobe Clinic, involved a debridement of Puk’s labrum and rotator cuff while also cleaning out bursitis that had developed in the area.
The optimism comes in that Puk did not require a repair or reconstruction of his left shoulder, allowing for a quicker recovery. A’s head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta said Puk could resume throwing in about 10 to 12 weeks, with a good chance of beginning next Spring Training on a normal routine without restrictions alongside the rest of the A’s pitchers.
“Dr. ElAttrache is pretty excited they didn’t need to do any type of repairs within the procedure and the plan would be for him to be throwing probably in about 10 weeks,” Paparesta said. “We’ll probably err on the side of caution and go 12 weeks and just start him up in the normal offseason throwing program that we would have for him.”
Puk, Oakland’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has had a rough past couple of years that have seen last-minute setbacks derail chances of a full season in the Majors. Returning from Tommy John surgery that he had in 2018 to make a strong impression out of the A’s bullpen last September, Puk entered 2020 projected to be a member of the starting rotation only to be placed on the injured list with his current shoulder issue just a few days before the start of the regular season.
With Puk starting his physical therapy on Thursday in Los Angeles, the A’s are confident this recent surgery will help the left-hander finally be at full strength come next season.
“I think some of it is the simple fact that A.J. kind of had a roller coaster this year with Spring Training and then the pandemic shutdown and getting here for Summer Camp and getting shut down again,” Paparesta said. “More than anything else, this will be a nice breath of fresh air for him going into the offseason knowing it’s behind him. It wasn’t a huge procedure that needed to be done with any reconstruction or repair. It allows him to have a good offseason and hit the ground running when we get back into Spring Training. He wants to get back here and compete.”
Mengden throwing in San Jose
Daniel Mengden, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, has been cleared to be activated by MLB. The right-hander has been assigned to the A’s alternate training site in San Jose, where he will pitch in simulated games and stay ready for a potential callup.