NL East Links: Purke, Jordan, Hood, Phils, Hatcher

Nationals left-hander Matt Purke traveled to Washington for an examination of his elbow this week and is slated to receive a second opinion from an outside physician, assistant GM Doug Harris tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Purke, a third-rounder back in 2011 that signed a $4MM Major League deal out of the draft, has dealt with injuries throughout his career, though most have been related to his shoulder. Those arm troubles date back to his college days, as they were the reason the one-time first-round pick (the Rangers took him 14th overall in 2009, but he elected to attend college at TCU) fell to the third round. Here’s more on the Nats and the rest of the division…

  • From that same piece, Kilgore dispels any concerns over right-hander Taylor Jordan, who was lifted from his most recent Triple-A start with soreness in his arm. Harris tells Kilgore that the decision was purely precautionary and they expect no further complications.
  • Nationals prospect Destin Hood is putting a down season in 2013 behind him, writes Lacy Lusk for Baseball America. Hood is playing his best baseball since being a second-round pick back in 2008, and he could force his way onto the 40-man roster at season’s end. Nats’ Triple-A manager Billy Gardner Jr. offered high praise for Hood when interviewed by Lusk.
  • In a special piece for BA, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury writes that Phillies catcher Willians Astudillo has burst onto the prospect scene with a strong offensive performance in the early stages of the 2014 season after missing all of 2013 with a knee injury. Astudillo battled his way onto the Class A Lakeland roster and has opened the season by hitting .368/.385/.500. Director of player development Joe Jordan loves Astudillio’s bat, but he makes it sound as though the 5’9″, 182-pound Venezuelan backstop needs some more work behind the dish.
  •’s Joe Frisaro writes that right-hander Chris Hatcher is surprised to be back in the Majors after being designated for assignment and clearing waivers earlier in the year. “Wasn’t expecting [it],” Hatcher told Frisaro. “I was throwing the ball well down there. I’ll come up here and try to keep doing it and help the team get some outs.” Part of the reason for Hatcher’s surprise could be due to his off-field issues; the 29-year-old was in an altercation with teammate Sam Dyson where he hit Dyson and fractured his jaw. Hatcher tells Frisaro that he put himself in a tough spot professionally and as a person hope[s] to move on from it.”

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