Mar 4, 2013, 8:14 PM EDT
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Matt Purke hasn’t yet faced live hitters this spring.
It’s been 367 days since Matt Purke took the mound at Space Coast Stadium in a Nationals uniform, handed the ball by Davey Johnson to pitch his team’s 2012 exhibition opener against Georgetown University, and offered the entire organization reason to believe his path to the big leagues might be a quick one.
Purke, the highly touted left-hander from TCU drafted in 2011 and lured to professional ball by a four-year, $4.15 million, major-league contract, tossed three scoreless innings that afternoon against the Hoyas. More importantly, his shoulder felt strong after some questions about its stability during his final college season and the Arizona Fall League.
Put that all together, and the Nationals had legitimate visions of a fast track to the majors for a highly advanced pitching prospect.
Flash-forward one year, and Purke’s path to Washington has all but ground to a halt. He appeared in only three games last season for low-Class A Hagerstown, he was roughed up to the tune of a 5.87 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP and his shoulder was barking once again.
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