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Hurston Waldrep makes MLB debut

Jun. 10—THOMASVILLE — Former Thomasville Bulldogs and Thomasville native Hurston Waldrep made his Major League Baseball debut for the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon. After a short rain delay, Waldrep got the start for the Atlanta Braves in Washington, DC against the Nationals.

Waldrep got his day started off right with a first pitch ground out for the Nats' leadoff hitter CJ Abrams. He then walked Lane Thomas before forcing a pop out before Thomas was caught stealing to end the innings.

A milestone moment came in the bottom of the second as Waldrep faced former Brave Eddie Rosario to start the inning.

In three pitches Waldrep recorded his first big league strikeout. He caught Rosario looking on a high slider, and then sent a pair of splitters low and inside right past Rosario's bat for the K. Waldrep retired two more batters for a three-up-three-down inning.

Waldrep pitched very well in the early innings and early in the count. He recorded 14 first pitch strikes with 18 batters faced. Waldrep's famed splitter was on full display as 25 of his 62 pitchers were splitters. It worked well as he sat Rosario down with it and recorded seven called strikes and six whiffs with the pitch.

Unfortunately, Waldrep's day took a turn in the bottom of the fourth. Up to that point he'd recorded one K and walked one, holding the Nats to zero runs.

Then came the bottom of the fourth when, after giving up two hits and a walk, Luis Garcia Jr. singled to left to drive in a run. Then, in the very next at-bat, on a 96 mph first pitch fastball, Keibert Ruiz jacked a 388 foot three-run homer to give Washington the lead. Waldrep would walk two more and give up another hit before being pulled after 3.2 innings.

Despite the down turn, Waldrep performed extremely well in his first three innings as an Atlanta Braves. In an interview with MLB.com, Braves manager Brian Snitker said he thought Waldrep "handled himself really well for the limited experience he has" and described him as "another young guy with a lot of upside".

"It was pretty cool," Waldrep told MLB.com."Even with the outcome, to get this one out of the way."

As for his struggles in the the fourth, Waldrep responded, saying "It is what it is. It's in the past now."