A.J. Puk won’t pitch early in CWS for top-seeded Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida left-hander A.J. Puk, the sixth overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft last week, will have to wait to get back on the mound.

Coach Kevin O’Sullivan said Wednesday that right-handers Logan Shore and Alex Faedo will pitch Florida’s first two games in Omaha, Nebraska. Shore will start Florida’s opener Sunday against Coastal Carolina.

O’Sullivan says the 6-foot-7 Puk “will pitch in Omaha if we’re fortunate to stay out there for a while.” So Puk likely will start Florida’s third game, assuming the top-seeded Gators (52-14) win one of their first two in the double-elimination tournament.

Puk (2-3, 3.05 ERA), drafted by the Oakland Athletics, was less than impressive in his two starts in the NCAA baseball tournament. He gave up five hits and four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against UConn on June 4, and then walked six and hit a batter in 3 2/3 scoreless innings Monday. The Gators won both games.

Puk’s last victory came April 14, and he’s lasted less than five innings in four of his last six outings.

“There’s not a whole lot to say,” O’Sullivan said. “At the end of the day, what I’ve told him and continue to tell him (is) we will not win a national championship without him having a part in this thing. For me, you’re always one start away from getting right back where you want to be. … That’s really the mindset you have to have.

“It’s not an easy game. He’s going to throw good, and I really believe that. I’m not just saying that to kind of motivate him. I do believe that when he gets the ball again, he’s going to throw ball good. I believe that.”

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