Luzardo (shoulder) is making encouraging progress from the left rotator cuff strain that shut him down in late March, Dave Sessions of MLB.com reports. "Luzardo feels absolutely fantastic, but he's still not throwing yet," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's champing at the bit -- he wants to throw. But we also understand for a guy like him, when you set a timetable, there's really no need to speed it up. We just want to make sure when he comes back, he's fully healthy."
Luzardo wowed this past spring, to the extent he prompted plenty of talk about the possibility of securing an Opening Day roster spot. His shoulder issues put an abrupt end to that speculation, but the 21-year-old appears to be on a steady road to recovery. With the big-league rotation at full health at the moment, Luzardo may be headed for Triple-A Las Vegas whenever he is ready to officially kick off his 2019 campaign. Prior to activation, however, he's likely to log at least a couple of rehab outings to ensure his shoulder is up to the rigors of the regular season.
Luzardo will be shut down for 4-to-6 weeks with a muscle strain in his left (throwing) shoulder, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.
This obviously sounds pretty bad. Luzardo, who was a candidate to open the year in the rotation, is now considered out indefinitely. If he resumes a throwing program in May, it would still take him several weeks to complete a rehab assignment. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016.
Luzardo allowed an earned run on four hits and a walk over four innings in a Cactus League split-squad win over the Giants on Sunday. He struck out five.
Luzardo continues to press his rather unlikely candidacy for the Athletics' final rotation spot to open the season, a quest that would have seemed a relative long shot at the beginning of spring due to potential service-time considerations for the 21-year-old. That may still be an overriding factor that prevents Luzardo from opening the campaign with the big-league squad, but Sunday's outing served as the latest example he may be ready for the rigors of the majors based on ability alone. Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that Luzardo impressively worked around trouble in the first after allowing the first two hitters to reach safely via a walk and a single, escaping the frame with just one earned run allowed. The southpaw then retired the next six hitters and didn't allow another run, finishing the start with 62 pitches. Luzardo has now racked up 15 strikeouts over 9.2 spring innings, and he'll remain in Arizona when the team travels to Japan later this week in order to remain on his regular throwing schedule ahead of a Bay Bridge series start in late March.
Luzardo struck out six of the 10 batters he faced in a 2.2-inning, 51-pitch Cactus League outing against the Rangers on Tuesday, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. "You look for the nerves or whatever, first big league camp, and we haven't seen a sign of it," manager Bob Melvin said. "Comes in the dugout between innings, very cognizant of what's going on, has conversations with the catchers, the pitching coaches."
Luzardo continues to battle for Oakland's one open rotation spot, and despite the fact he only has four 2017 starts at the Triple-A level under his belt, he's making a significant push for the job. The southpaw was making his first start after opening spring with a pair of relief appearances, and Tuesday's outing extended his spring scoreless streak to 5.2 innings. Luzardo has given up only two hits and already fanned 10 hitters, with his elite changeup proving especially effective when interspersed with an impressive fastball that the 21-year-old is still actively working on locating more consistently. "I think when you have three pitches like that and you don't feel great about one, you have two you can go to, and there's a nice little gap between the two and they both look alike," Melvin said. "His fastball and his changeup look exactly alike."
Luzardo (illness) struck out three batters across two clean innings against the Dodgers last Wednesday.
Luzardo dealt with a minor illness in between his first two Cactus League appearances, though the young left-hander didn't seem affected by the issue. He's allowed just one unearned run on two hits with a 4:1 K:BB through two outings (three innings) this spring. Luzardo, who is competing for a rotation spot in camp, is slated to start Tuesday against the Rangers.
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