The Oakland Athletics reinstated left handed pitcher Jesús Luzardo from the injured list on Sunday after a near month-long absence from the team, but manager Bob Melvin had some difficult news for his young prospect.
In the time Luzardo has been out, the A’s starting rotation has been just fine without him, and Luzardo has lost his starting spot — at least for the time being and perhaps indefinitely– and will pitch out of the bullpen for Oakland.
Melvin told reporters on Sunday that he’d “play it by ear” as far as a possible return to the rotation for Luzardo. He also said there is “no Plan B” after the bullpen.
“If we get the chance to stretch (his pitch count) out a little bit certain days then we might. But I don’t think there’s a Plan B at this point. He’s just going to pitch out of the bullpen and do what he did his first year.” — A’s manager Bob MelvinSan Francisco Chronicle
Alright, then. It appears Luzardo best become comfortable in his new home.
As Melvin alludes to, Luzardo has pitched out of the bullpen before. Per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matt Kawahara, Luzardo debuted as a reliever in 2019, compiling a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings.
The emergence of starting pitcher James Kaprielian is a large factor in Melvin’s decision. He has a 1.53 ERA in three starts since Luzardo’s freak injury, sustained while playing video games.
Here’s a word from Luzardo, who is being professional about this but isn’t hiding his goal of being a starting pitcher.
As long as Luzardo can keep his head on straight, so to speak, this is all good for the Athletics. They just got a talented pitcher back and can add him to the list of other outstanding arms in the pitching staff.
In a corresponding move, the A’s optioned right handed pitcher Jordan Weems to AAA Las Vegas.
Update: Luzardo pitched an impressive ninth inning in relief during the A’s loss to the Angels on Sunday.
(Photo credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports)