A.J. Cole making progress after two wins to begin Double-A career

Right-hander A.J. Cole has now had two positive starts in a row for Double-A Harrisburg. Cole went six innings in a 5-3 Senators win at Trenton.

Cole allowed four hits, one unearned run, three walks struck out six for his second straight win. Nationals director of player development Doug Harris is happy with Cole and his progress at Double-A.

"Absolutely, he has gone up there and competed very well," Harris said. "He has thrown a lot of strikes and been very aggressive. We are very pleased with where he is at."

Cole struggled last season with the Oakland A's at their high Single-A affiliate. Once he was transferred to low Single-A, he flourished.

This season, Cole has done well at high Single-A Potomac and now at Harrisburg. It is a small sample size and it is early, but it is a good sign that Cole is learning how to make adjustments and that his stuff plays at a higher level.

"I think it is a natural evolution for any young player," Harris said. "He is starting to understand how everything works for him and what he needs to do to be successful."

Cole is now 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts, covering 13 innings for Harrisburg. He has allowed seven hits, two runs, one homer, four walks and has struck out 12.

That boosts his overall total this year to 8-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 20 starts, with 114 strikeouts and 27 walks. With Taylor Jordan's call-up, Robbie Ray and Cole could be the early favorites for Pitcher of the Year honors in the Nationals minor league system.

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