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Posted at 12:52 PM ET, 05/30/2012

Matt Purke makes first minor league start at Class A Hagerstown

(Jonathan Newton)
Matt Purke, the left-handed starting pitcher the Nationals signed to a major league contract out of last year’s draft, made his minor league debut today at Class A Hagerstown. Purke allowed five runs in five uneven innings, walking five batters while allowing seven hits, including a homer to Greensboro center fielder Brent Keys, and striking out one.

Purke had spent the season at extended spring training in Viera, Fla., where he could build arm strength in a more controlled environment. Purke missed the majority of his college season at TCU last year with a shoulder injury, which the Nationals diagnosed before drafting him as an ailment that would not hinder his development.

The Nationals signed Purke to a four-year contract worth roughly $4 million last August, with General Manager Mike Rizzo calling him, “close to the big leagues.”

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