Puk makes Major League Baseball debut

Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Puk works against the New York Yankees during the eighth inning Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Former UF standout pitcher A.J. Puk, the Oakland Athletics’ top pitching prospect, made his long-awaited major league debut Wednesday night, and the crowd went crazy.

Puk felt the love. His teammates razzed him afterward and he assured everybody, “I can take it.”

Liam Hendriks struck out DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge in the eighth to escape a jam after Puk started the inning.

“He handled it well,” Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers said of Puk. “We’re going to see a lot of him.”

Puk hit 99 mph on the radar gun and issued a walk and Ford’s single one out later before giving way to Hendriks.

Puk, called up Tuesday after he missed last season following Tommy John surgery, will remain a reliever in the majors this season but a future starter. What about an opener?

“He’s going to be a starter,” Melvin said, then joked: “He can open and go seven innings.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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