Purke has positive outing in Florida, could make pro debut next week

Southpaw Matt Purke had a strong showing Thursday in Florida, as he regains strength and lengthens out in preparation for his minor league debut.

In extended spring training, Purke went five innings, and his fastball was clocked at 92 mph, according to a Nationals source. The team has continued to build up Purke in a progression similar to what a rehabbing major league player would do: three innings, four innings and then five innings.

Purke’s ability to go five innings today is a very good sign and shows that the young prospect is close to being ready to arrive at the pro level in a minor league setting. The team will revisit his status early next week, most likely Monday, which is the day of his next possible start after five days’ rest.

The likely destination would be pitching-hungry high Single-A Potomac. The 6-foot-4, 205-lb. left-hander from Spring, Texas, was selected by the Nationals in the third round (96th overall) of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Although the team has not disclosed the nature of injury or reason for Purke’s delayed arrival in the minors, the Texas Christian star had battled a shoulder problem which shut down his senior season.

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