Troy Patton completed the second phase of his comeback from torn labrum surgery, tossing six scoreless innings against Akron and picking up his second win of the season. He struck out a season-high six and walked none, allowing only three hits.
Six scoreless innings last night combined with the five from last weeks start against Akron, and Patton has started the season off with 11 scoreless innings, showing all the doubters that he has what it takes to come back from the surgery which wiped out his entire 2008 season (and that the Orioles didn't get completely taken in the trade which brought Patton, Mike Costanzo, Matt Albers, Luke Scott, and Dennis Sarfate to Baltimore and sent Miguel Tejada to Houston).
Patton reportedly kept hitters off balance with a fastball that was clocked in the low 90's, but sat more comfortably in the upper 80's. The emergence of Patton not only gives the Bowie rotation a surprise ace, but also gives the Orioles just one more impressive arm to add to their collection of pitching prospects knocking on the door trying to break their way into Baltimore.
Characterized as a soft tossing lefty who makes his game on control and pinpoint accuracy, Patton owns a 28-28 overall record in the minors, sporting a 2.96 ERA and an almost 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio. He finally made it to the Majors in 2007, losing both starts he made, but finishing up the season with a 3.55 ERA.
Patton is only 23 years old and has a heck of a career ahead of him, and was actually considered to be close to Major League ready before his injury. He should jump right back to the top of that list with the Orioles as soon as he can get his innings up. He reported to local news sources that he would like to pitch 170-200 innings this year, and while that sounds a wee bit optimistic to me, seeing that he doesn't rely on throwing the ball past hitters, it is quite plausible that he gets near that number.
Hopefully, he won't get that chance though, and come September he'll be pinpointing his pitches against hitters in the Majors.