June 25, 2024

The Marlins’ trial of AJ Puk as a starting pitcher did not succeed, leading to his return to the bullpen as a reliever. Currently sidelined due to left shoulder fatigue, Puk will make the transition upon his return. This shift coincides with a period of multiple injuries in the Marlins’ rotation, with Sandy Alcantara, Eury Perez, Braxton Garret, and recently Jesus Luzardo all sidelined. Puk’s move back to the bullpen will create another vacancy in their starting rotation.

During the offseason, left-handed pitcher AJ Puk made a significant transition from being a relief pitcher to a starting pitcher, likely in response to the injuries and gaps in the Marlins’ rotation. As a reliever in 2023, he posted a 3.97 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 13 walks across 56.2 innings pitched. However, his performance as a starter in 2024 has been disappointing, with a 0-4 record, 9.22 ERA, 2.63 WHIP, and 17 walks in just 13.2 innings pitched, indicating issues with control. His recent placement on the injured list is unsurprising, as his arm couldn’t handle the workload of a starting pitcher.

Despite his struggles in the majors, Puk showed promise during spring training, allowing only three runs with a 1.32 ERA and tallying 23 strikeouts in 13.2 innings pitched across four starts in the Grapefruit League. These impressive numbers likely contributed to the Marlins’ decision to give him a chance as a starter.

Catching up with A.J. Puk: Former Cedar Rapids Washington star on trade to  Miami, bullpen role, hometown pride | The Gazette

According to ESPN’s Christina De Nicola, Manager Skip Schumaker emphasized that AJ Puk’s transition back to the bullpen is not a result of his performance but rather concerns about his health. Schumaker mentioned that they are still determining the specifics of Puk’s role in the bullpen, whether it involves pitching multiple innings or just one. The priority is ensuring Puk’s health before finalizing his usage. With five of the Marlins’ starters sidelined, the team will rely on Edward Cabrera, Max Meyer, and Ryan Weathers to lead the rotation.

 

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