A’s prized prospect making first big league start Tuesday

OAKLAND — Jesús Luzardo will make his first big league start Tuesday against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland Coliseum, manager Bob Melvin announced.

Luzardo, the A’s No. 1 prospect, is considered one of baseball’s top rookies — without a start yet under his belt, he’s well positioned at the forefront of the American League Rookie of the Year conversation.

“I understand we’re Oakland and it’s not a major market, but he has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in the game,” A’s pitcher Chris Bassitt said. “He literally could be one of the top three premier pitchers in the game.”

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A pair of errors blemish Luzardo’s two appearances out of the bullpen this season, in which he’s given up one earned run — three total — in 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts and three walks against the Los Angeles Angels and Colorado Rockies. His slider has been particularly devastating, with a high-90s fastball that moves. Luzardo has a 1.35 ERA in 2020.

The A’s 22-year-old left-hander’s highly-anticipated move into the rotation comes nearly a year delayed due to a slew of major injuries.

Luzardo was first sidelined for six weeks in March 2019 with a rotator cuff injury; after a sterling spring he was expected to start the season in the rotation. That July, Luzardo experienced another set-back when diagnosed with a Grade 2 lat strain.

He made his big league debut last September out of the bullpen, allowing two earned runs over six appearances with 16 strikeouts.

Finally looking cleared to join the rotation this spring, sports’ shutdown prolonged his big league start yet again. And, of course, a bout with the coronavirus prior to the truncated 2020 season delayed his first big league start a bit longer.

Right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden will move into the bullpen to make room for Luzardo in the five-man rotation. Frankie Montas will start in Monday’s finale against the Mariners in Seattle on regular rest.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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