Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Inbox: Where is Puk at in rehab process?

Beat reporter Jane Lee answers fans' questions
January 10, 2019

What is the status of A.J. Puk? Will we see him in an A's uniform in 2019? -- Neal O., Addison, TexasThat's the plan. Puk, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April, has made tremendous progress in his rehab. The A's No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline is already

What is the status of A.J. Puk? Will we see him in an A's uniform in 2019?
-- Neal O., Addison, Texas

That's the plan. Puk, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April, has made tremendous progress in his rehab. The A's No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline is already throwing pitches from flat ground, per general manager David Forst, and is seemingly on track to return to game action midseason -- if not sooner. The A's, of course, won't rush the big lefty but anticipate him making his big league debut at some point this year barring any rehab setbacks.
:: Submit a question to the A's Inbox ::
While thrilled with the trade for Jurickson Profar, I did expect Franklin Barreto to step in at second base when Jed Lowrie left. How does this trade affect Barreto's development?
-- Joe. L, Tampa, Fla.

Oakland insists that Barreto is still very much part of its plans and foresees him moving around the field more so than he has in the past. That could mean a big league utility role, so long as there's roster room.
Would Barreto's development be bettered by an everyday role? Absolutely. But keep in mind there's still plenty of time for that to happen, since he'll be just 23 when the season opens. Also, it wouldn't be the worst thing for him to continue refining his game at Triple-A for another year -- should it come to that.
<jsp:include flush="true" page="/components/news/mailbag/include_oak.jsp"> What is the possibility of the A's locking up Matt Chapman to a long-term deal before he gets expensive?
-- Kyle K., Wichita, Kan.

I just don't see this happening under the watch of power agent Scott Boras, who reportedly declined to enter contract talks regarding Chapman a year ago. This was unsurprising given Boras' track record; he has typically advised his clients to go through the arbitration process, enter the free-agent market when eligible and take home top dollar. There are exceptions, of course, but I'm not sure Chapman will be one. He's a star in the making and could earn big bucks on the open market when he becomes a free agent at the end of 2023.
Currently, the A's aren't in position to give him those kind of dollars, but that could change if they somehow manage to stick with their timeline and open a new ballpark by the 2023 season as planned. In that case, Chapman would have more reason to remain in green and gold. Then again, the A's have been well-known for trading players before they reach free agency.

Haven't heard anything new about the status of the Howard Terminal plan. What's going on at this point in time? I'm hoping this isn't another lame attempt to try to convince the fans this is a viable solution.
-- Bill. A, Statesville, N.C.

It's completely understandable why you might be weary of all this, and I'm sure you're not alone. Potential proposals like these have been rolled out before only to be squashed, but the A's are convinced this one will become a reality. Of course, a lot needs to happen before a shovel gets in the ground, and only when it does will we all become believers too, but president Dave Kaval and his team are staying plenty busy to ensure that's the case.
After their plans were made public in late November, the A's focus turned to a "120-Day Action Plan" featuring five key items: gathering additional community feedback, beginning the environmental review process at the proposed site, negotiating an agreement with the Port of Oakland, developing a framework with public officials for the Coliseum redevelopment as part of the their doubleheader proposal and developing a framework for an economic and community benefits agreement.
So, that's what's going on right now.
I read the A's release about FanFest and noticed that not all players are attending. Is that normal? Pretty bummed that Chappy and KD won't be there.
-- Andrea L., Pleasanton, Calif.

The A's extend FanFest invites to all players and coaches and encourage them to attend, but it's impossible to work around everyone's schedule during the offseason, especially when extensive time and travel is involved. Chapman and Khris Davis are indeed notable missing names; however, one significant name left off the release who in fact will be there is Marcus Semien.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.