After a stint in the Arizona Fall League in late 2011 and some time on the mound in major league camp last Spring, 2011 3rd Round pick Matt Purke made three starts, throwing 15.1 inning for the Class-A Hagerstown Suns before he was shut down with a recurrence of the shoulder issues which led to the '09 1st Round pick falling to the Nats in the 3rd Round two years later following two seasons at Texas Christian University. It was during his second year in college that Purke first began experiencing problems with his shoulder. The Nationals drafted Purke anyway, taking him 96th overall two years after he went 14th to the Rangers and didn't sign, and the Nats gave the left-hander a 4-year/$4.15M dollar major league deal. When the shoulder issue persisted, Purke finally had surgery this past August.
An arthroscopic procedure was performed in which doctors cleaned up Purke's shoulder and, as CSN Washington.com's Mark Zuckerman wrote on Monday, removed "a couple of inflamed bursa sacs." The labrum and rotator cuff were "in tact", however, and the damage was actually not as bad as feared. Purke's been throwing bullpens already this Spring, but he's schedule to remain in Viera, Florida at the Nats' training facilities at the start of the season, with Davey Johnson telling reporters recently that he could join one of the Nationals' minor league affiliates in May.
The Nationals announced this afternoon that they had assigned Purke to the Class-A Hagerstown Suns, where he'll likely start his second pro season when he is 100%:
#Nationals option LHP Matt Purke to Single-A Hagerstown. Spring Training roster now at 49.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) March 5, 2013
As the Nationals' tweet notes, the move leaves the Nationals with 49 players on the Spring Training roster. This weekend Washington re-assigned left-handers Will Ohman, Bill Bray and Brandon Mann and right-hander Tanner Roark to minor league camp.