The A’s starting rotation won’t be getting back one of the few older pitchers they have. Starter Drew Rucinski is reportedly set to undergo the knife, per Martin Gallegos:
Drew Rucinski is going to have season-ending back surgery.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 18, 2023
This marks an end to Rucinski’s first season back in North America since returning from overseas, and it was not a good one for the 34-year old.
Rucinski signed a 1-year deal with the A’s back in December 2022 after going to pitch in Korea for four seasons. The A’s brought him on with the thought being he could provide a veteran presence in a young starting rotation. Maybe even pitch well enough to become a trade piece come trading season. That hasn’t worked out in the slightest as injuries have wrecked his season and now officially ended it.
Rucinski started the season on the IL with a left hamstring strain that kept him out for the first month. And when he finally did make his A’s debut it didn’t go smoothly. In four starts for Oakland he pitched 18 innings and allowed 18 earned runs. Even worse is that he had walked 14 batters while only striking out six. He was just not as effective as he was in Korea and it was obvious.
Then he got sick and went on the 15-day IL. Maybe a quick reset would help turn his season around. Instead the injury bug popped up again, this time getting his right knee. And from there the injuries piled up as a later MRI showed degenerative changes in his left hip and lower back. And that’s what’s ultimately ending his season.
When the A’s signed him they also put in a club option for 2024. You can be sure that the club won’t even consider picking that up and it’s unknown if the right-hander will ever be able to pitch again, let alone in the big leagues. Best wishes to Rucinski on his recovery!