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Oakland Athletics Minor League Notebook: AJ Puk debuts in Double-A

Oakland Athletics 2016 first-round pick A.J. Puk officially made the jump to Double-A and it was a successful first leap. We have the details on Puk’s outing, as well as lots of additional news around the A’s system.

A.J. Puk / Oakland Athletics
A.J. Puk threw seven strong innings for the Midland RockHounds on Monday. / Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics 2016 first-round pick A.J. Puk didn’t miss a beat after his promotion to Double-A Midland. In his first start with the RockHounds, Puk went seven strong innings in a 3-1 loss to the Frisco RoughRiders. He allowed three runs in those seven frames. Puk struck-out seven, walked two and hit two batters. Puk threw 91 pitches, 58 for strikes.

Puk now has 105 strike-outs in just 68 innings this season. His ERA is 3.71, but he has held opposing batters to a .194 average. He has walked 25 and has a 1.07 WHIP. Puk has allowed just one homerun.

The RockHounds had nine hits in the loss, but couldn’t manage to string enough of them together. Yairo MunozMax Schrock and B.J. Boyd each had two hits. All three hitters are batting over .300 this season for Midland.

Other Notes

— The Oakland A’s made two changes to their major-league coaching staff on Monday. In addition to bringing back former A’s minor league pitching instructor Garvin Alston to be the team’s big league bullpen coach, the A’s announced that bench coach Mark Kotsay would be taking a leave of absence to be with his family. His daughter recently suffered a serious eye injury. While Kotsay is on leave, former A’s minor league manager and current minor league instructor Steve Scarsone has joined the staff as the A’s interim third base coach. Chip Hale moves from third base coach to bench coach, a role he served for the A’s from 2012-2014 before leaving to be the Arizona Diamondbacks’ manager.

— The A’s released Oakland native James Harris from the High-A Stockton roster on Monday. Harris missed the first part of the season recovering from some health issues during spring training. He joined the Ports on May 22 and hit .244/.303/.341 in 21 games. Harris was a Cal League All-Star last season and he hit .297 with a .370 OBP for Stockton and Midland in 2016.

— To make room for A.J. Puk on the Midland roster, the A’s placed RHP Brett Graves on the 7-day disabled list. He is dealing with a leg issue similar to shin splints that has bothered him off-and-on for several starts.

— The A’s also promoted reliever Lou Trivino from Double-A Midland to Triple-A Nashville. Trivino, a Texas League All-Star, had a 2.43 ERA and 34 strike-outs in 33.1 innings for the RockHounds. Trivino has touched triple digits with his fastball the past two seasons. Switching spots with Trivino is reliever Tyler Sturdevant, who moves down to Midland after posting a 4.39 ERA in 26.2 innings for the Sounds. Sturdevant threw a scoreless inning in his Midland debut on Monday.

— The Sounds dropped both ends of a double-header against New Orleans on Monday. Nashville will play another double-header on Tuesday and then another on Thursday, as they make-up a host of games rained out this season.

— Rain stopped the Vermont Lake Monsters’ season opener in the third inning with the game knotted at 0-0. Jesus Lopez had the first hit of the season for Vermont, a single off of 2016 first-round pick Jason Groome of the Boston Red Sox. The game will be picked up in Lowell on Tuesday. Find the Vermont opening day roster here.

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