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A.J. Puk
Miami Marlins
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Getting stretched out as starter
PMiami Marlins
February 17, 2024
Puk spent the offseason preparing to be a starting pitcher, Christina De Nicola of MLB.com reports.
All 142 of the southpaw's career appearances in the majors have come in relief, but Puk was drafted as a starter and was beginning to get stretched out by Oakland prior to the February 2023 trade that sent him to Miami. The Marlins have other lefty options in their bullpen, including Tanner Scott and Andrew Nardi, while the team's rotation will be missing Sandy Alcantara (elbow) in 2024. Braxton Garrett (shoulder), Trevor Rogers (lat) and Max Meyer (elbow) could also be uncertain for Opening Day, so Puk might have an open path to a rotation spot if he looks good in the role during camp, but at this stage it still seems more likely he'll begin the season in the bullpen. The 28-year-old displayed control issues in the minors while starting, but he posted a 5.4 percent walk rate last year along with a 32.2 percent strikeout rate. If his stuff holds up while working longer outings, the 2016 first-round pick has the talent -- and potentially the opportunity -- to put together a breakout season.