Double-A Harrisburg starting left-hander Matt Purke has been placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury, according to a club source. The Nationals are “still gathering information” regarding the injury and do not know yet what the next step will be.
Purke was listed as the No. 10 Nationals prospect according to Baseball America.
Elbow injuries in pitchers usually are rarely easy fixes. Recently, fellow left-hander Danny Rosenbaum under went Tommy John surgery. Purke’s career has been bumpy because of injuries. In 2012, Purke under went left shoulder debridement surgery, a procedure that removes debris and damaged tissue in the shoulder joint. He pitched in just three games that season.
He appeared to turn a corner in Arizona Fall League play at the end of the 2013 campaign, putting together three consecutive outstanding starts. He did not allow a home run in 23 AFL innings. He finished 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA.
Purke has struggled from the outset of this season, however, compiling a 1-6 record with a 8.04 ERA. He lost his first five decisions, but then rebounded May 12 with a victory against Richmond. In that game, Purke completed six innings, allowed two hits, no runs, two walks and struck out three.
But in his next two starts he struggled again, lasting one inning on May 12 and four innings on May 18. In his last game, Purke surrendered eight hits and four runs and a three-run homer in the first inning to Kenny Vargas, in a 5-3 loss to New Britain.
Purke was a third round selection in the 2011 first-year player draft out of TCU, where he was the Baseball America Freshman of the Year.