Left-hander Matt Purke made his professional debut Wednesday at Greensboro for the low Single-A Hagerstown Suns.
Purke allowed a controversial two-run homer that appeared foul, and an RBI double, leaving after five innings with the Suns down 5-3. He finished scattering seven hits, allowing five runs, five walks and struck out one on an estimated 83 pitches.
The home run appeared close to being or could have been a foul ball, according to a club source. Manager Brian Daubach argued the umpire’s call that the ball was hit foul, but to no avail.
Purke topped out at 91 mph in his first pro game with the Nationals organization after spending nearly two months at the Viera, Fla., extended spring training facility.
The source indicated most of the early hits were soft and some of the bloop variety. Obviously, Purke would like some of the walks back, but there is a lot of promise in the result. The lefty was able to hit 88 to 90 mph consistently. He also lasted 83 pitches through five innings and was able to pick a runner off of first base.
One other interesting example that the Suns were not too pleased with the umpiring Wednesday is that outfielder Brian Goodwin was thrown out arguing balls and strikes in the seventh inning.
Update: The game is over, and Purke is saddled with the 5-3 loss.