Luzardo's First Start for Athletics Could Come This Weekend in Seattle

John Hickey

Rookie left-handed starter Jesus Luzardo could get his first big league start this weekend when the A’s play a set in Seattle.

Or not.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday morning that Luzardo was, after getting three days off, ready to pitch in relief Wednesday against the Rockies if the needs should arise. IF not, then this weekend shapes up as a possibility.

The A’s have a day off Thursday to play with in structuring their rotation. If the club were to go in order in a four-game set in Seattle, it would Sean Manaea on Friday, Mike Fiers on Saturday, Chris Bassitt on Sunday and Daniel Mengden on Monday.

Any or all of those could be moved or altered to get Luzardo, who would have been in the rotation had not he spent two weeks in COVID-19-induced quarantine, into the works. Since none of the first five starts have seen the A’s get as many as five innings from their starters, the A’s are looking for better. However, Luzardo, who threw three innings on Saturday against the Angels without allowing a run, probably wouldn’t be built up enough to give the A’s more than five innings the first time out.

Asked when Luzardo might be in the rotation, Melvin said, “pretty soon.”

“Whether it’s the next time out or whether it’s the next time after one more time in the bullpen, he will be in the rotation soon,” Melvin said. “We’ll see how today goes and take it from there.

“But he is available to pitch today; it’s been three days’ rest. He’s either going to start in Seattle, or he would have one more relief appearance.”

In his three inning Saturday, Luzardo, who hadn’t pitched in a game since March, was able to throw 44 pitches. To make his debut throwing three innings, scoreless no less, left the 22-year-old rookie feeling upbeat about his prospects.

“I was happy to be able to go … three innings, just being able to show that I was ready,” Luzardo said. My arm feels good any my body is physically ready for what’s to come.”

Asked if he believed he was ready to step into the rotation, Luzardo said he was – with one caveat.

“I feel like I am, me personally, just in terms of how my arm feels and the strength of my arm right now,” he said. “I felt good throughout the whole outing. But at the end of the day, it’s not my decision. So, if they want me in the bullpen again, I’ll throw gladly in the bullpen.”

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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