Penn Enjoys Success Pitching Back Home

June 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Sports

YPSILANTI, MI, June 12, 2009

Mike Penn has been very productive since coming back home to play professional baseball. Penn has started the season 3-1 for the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti, who have given him an opportunity to pitch close to his home in Dexter and near his alma-mater the University of Michigan.

“I love being back home, to be able to have family come (to the games) is great, and still have a opportunity to be looked at,” said Penn. The 6’3 righty not only pitched four years with the maize and blue, but also met his wife-to-be, Erin, who, at the time, was a U of M volleyball player.

In 2005, the Kansas City Royals selected Penn in the 11th round of Major League Baseball’s annual June amateur draft. He spent the next four years in the Royals organization, pitching for the club’s Arizona rookie league team, the Burlington Bees of the Class-A Midwest League and the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Class-A Carolina League. He was promoted to the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals of the Texas League for the 2007 playoffs, but did not make any appearances. With no Double-A slot open for another starting pitcher, Penn was released on the last day of spring training this year.

Penn’s Minor League stats indicate a fair amount of success: a 9-6 record with a 3.57ERA. In 174 innings, Penn gave up 177 hits. Control has been his forte – he walked just 37 batters while striking out 124.

After his release, Penn saw a great opportunity to come home and pitch close to home with the Sliders.

“It was either pitching here or eight hours from home in Iowa,” Penn said. “So it was an easy decision to finally play again near home.”

Penn is off to an excellent start in his first season of independent professional baseball, winning three of his first four starts. “I’ve been very fortunate so far,” Penn said. “I’ve had great offense when I’ve pitched and have been blessed to pick up the wins. It’s my job to pitch deep into games and give our team an opportunity to win.”

“Mike has been another pitching coach for us,” said pitching coach Cory Domel. He’s a great guy for our younger guys to go to for questions.” Mike is the oldest player on the team at 27 years old, and brings a wealth of experience from his years at Michigan and with the Royals. “His ability to use his years in pro ball is what sets him apart,” Domel commented. “Mike’s seen everything before so he’s never overwhelmed in any situation.”

Penn, who teaches in the Chelsea school district during the offseason, enjoys seeing the Frontier League come to southeast Michigan. “It’s exciting to see minor league baseball in the area,” Penn said. “It’s so much different from the Major League game. You’re close to the players. We have guys on our pitching staff charting pitches in the stands charting pitches who you can just come up and talk to.”

“He’s ad real plus guy to have in the clubhouse,” Sliders Manager Eric Coleman added. “He’s an older guy so he understands what other players are going through.”

As the Sliders head on their 12-game road trip, the longest of the season, Penn is looking to continue his early success and hopes more fans will come out to support the club for their next home game on June 24th.


One Comment on "Penn Enjoys Success Pitching Back Home"

  1. cpriest on Tue, 30th Jun 2009 5:55 pm 

    Great article about Penn. I would enjoy more articles so I can know more about the background of these players.

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