Purke named AFL Pitcher of the Week

A couple of Nationals prospects have been close to earning the honor this month, but Matt Purke is the first to break through.

The left-hander was named Arizona Fall League Pitcher of the Week for week No. 3. Purke went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three starts.

He had a rough outing Tuesday, going three innings and allowing five runs on eight hits in a 7-3 loss to Salt River. Purke walked two, had a balk and struck out one. His ERA is now 3.00. Purke threw 60 pitches with 35 for strikes.

Still, Purke and Sammy Solis have combined for five wins early in AFL play. This is Purke's second stint in Arizona, having pitched for Scottsdale in 2011.

Catcher Adrian Nieto went 2-for-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored Tuesday. Nieto is up to .333 at the plate.

Mesa has lost three straight and their lead is down to 1 1/2 games in the East over Salt River. After winning seven of their first eight games, Mesa has hit a lull, dropping seven of their last 10 contests.

The Puerto Rican winter league begins Friday and I have been told Nationals prospects Michael Taylor and Tyler Herron will participate.

Taylor, a center fielder for high Single-A Potomac, hit .263 in 133 games this season with 10 homers and 87 RBIs. Taylor had 57 stolen bases and 79 runs scored with 41 doubles and six triples.

Right-hander Herron pitched extremely well this season between Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. He went 6-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 33 games for Harrisburg after going 1-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 10 starts at Potomac. Herron had 90 strikeouts and surrendered only two homers in 66 2/3 frames this season.

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