Austin Pruitt began the 2023 season at Triple A, but found his way back to the major leagues and pitched pretty well out of the bullpen for the Oakland Athletics before a forearm strain effectively ended his season.
Pruitt originally signed a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics in March of 2022. He ended up appearing in 39 games for the club during the season, but was outrighted off the 40-man roster and became a free agent. He re-signed with the club on a minor league deal on January 10, 2023.
What were the expectations?
Coming into the season, Pruitt figured to be bullpen depth at Triple A that would give Oakland an experienced option if needed. Some early struggles and injuries to some key relievers created an opportunity for Pruitt.
Pruitt spent the first month of the season at Las Vegas, but had his contract selected by the A’s on May 4. From that point on, he appeared in 38 games, including six starts as an opener, and posted a 2.98 ERA and a 4.17 FIP in 48 1/3 innings. Those numbers may not jump off the page, but given the struggles that Oakland’s relief core had, it was one of the better performances. Pruitt was placed on the 15-day injured list on August 20 with a right-forearm strain. He started a rehab assignment in mid-September, but never made his way back to the major league roster.
What went right? What went wrong?
It has to be viewed as a success anytime a player latches on with a club on a minor league deal and then manages to spend several months on the active roster. Pruitt did that and had a decent enough role out of Oakland’s bullpen. The injury was an unfortunate end and there hasn’t really been any updates on the severity.
Pruitt turned 34 in August. The injury is probably the biggest question mark, but if he is healthy, it wouldn’t be surprising for some team to take a chance on a guy that has logged 310 2/3 career innings at the major league level. Especially coming off of a season where he performed pretty well.