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Elephant Rumblings: A.J. Puk injury update; catcher position decided

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MLB news roundup

Colorado Rookies v Oakland Athletics
Puk and Allen
Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The Oakland A’s have completed their Summer Camp preseason exhibition schedule, which lasted all of two days. For the second night in a row they dropped their game to the Giants, but it was just practice; the real games begin for the A’s on Friday.

In the meantime, there are some new updates from the team insiders as everyone makes their final preparations for the new 60-game campaign.

First up is rookie lefty A.J. Puk, who was placed on the injured list Monday with a shoulder strain. He received a cortisone shot and will rest for a couple days, and then will miss a few weeks at the minimum, with no specific timetable for his return.

On the bright side, fellow rookie lefty Jesus Luzardo, still warming up after missing time to a positive coronavirus test, should be ready to go (out of the bullpen) sometime during the first couple games of the season if needed, reports inside Martin Gallegos.

As for the position players, two roster questions finally came into focus Tuesday. Regarding the catching position, the A’s will go with two catchers on their Opening Day roster: Sean Murphy and Austin Allen. The third candidate, top prospect Jonah Heim, will not make the roster but will be on the three-man taxi squad as a backup, reports Bill Moriarity of Athletics Farm.

In the infield, Chad Pinder got the start Tuesday at the crowded second base position, and he’s “likely” to start again on Opening Day this-coming Friday, says Gallegos. The report doesn’t specify where he would play, but presumably the implication was 2B, given the extremely crowded outfield that pushed him back to the infield this week in the first place. The A’s are facing a lefty starter that night in Andrew Heaney of the Angels, giving them the chance to use a right-handed batter against him at 2B, and Pinder is getting the first crack over Franklin Barreto in that regard.

Finally, the A’s added a new player to their 60-man pool, when the Reds returned Rule 5 draft pick Mark Payton. The outfielder was nabbed by Cincinnati last winter but was apparently not going to make their roster, so now he gives the A’s some extra lefty non-roster depth as an MLB-ready lotto ticket.

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