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Pat Misch is a veteran who has spent parts of seven different seasons in the major leagues.
But when Misch spent more than a month on the disabled list earlier this year, he was more than happy to get a chance to return to the Mud Hens.
“When they called me in Florida to come back and pitch [in Toledo], I felt like I was getting called up to the big leagues,” he said. “It was great, because I wanted to get back with the team and compete.”
The 31-year-old lefty did more than compete Friday: Misch threw six scoreless innings to pitch the Hens to a 6-0 win over Columbus.
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In just his second start since returning from a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder, Misch allowed just four hits and one walk while fanning five in six innings. Evan Reed and Robbie Weinhardt finished off the Hens’ fifth shutout this season, helping Toledo win its third game in a row and sixth in its last eight.
“That’s what we envision Pat doing,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “He spots his fastball and keeps hitters off-balance.
“He’s not going to overpower hitters, but he moves his fastball around. He knows how to pitch, he holds runners, and he does everything well. When he’s pitching well, this is the kind of game you’ll see.”
Misch was injured while covering a bunt in an April 25 start in Durham.
“I kept trying [to pitch] because I didn’t know if I was being a baby about it,” he said. “I tried to work through it, but every time my arm was in the throwing position [the pain] would travel all the way through my arm.”
Eventually Misch saw a chiropractor that solved the problem, then spent time in Florida getting back to game speed before returning to the Hens.
In six innings Friday Misch allowed just two runners to reach third base — actually, only one, as Lonnie Chisenhall was stranded there in the second, then tripled with two outs in the sixth before Chun Chen flew out.
In the seventh Misch gave up a leadoff single to Jeremy Hermida, but Evan Reed came on and got a double play and strikeout to end the threat.
“He pounded the bottom of the strike zone,” Nevin said of Reed. “He threw a couple of fastballs with a lot of late life, and he threw a couple of good sliders and a good change-up.”
Meanwhile the Mud Hens offense got plenty of baserunners, and took advantage of enough scoring opportunities to earn the win.
Three singles and a sacrifice fly produced two runs in the second inning. Then after a one-out triple by Argenis Diaz in the sixth, Kevin Russo laid down a suicide squeeze that scored the run.
Toledo broke the game open with three runs in the seventh thanks to an RBI single by Ben Guez and a two-run double by Bryan Holaday.
“I was trying to be a little more aggressive, hitting good pitches early in the count,” said Guez, who had three hits. “I felt, early in the year, I was taking a lot of those [pitches], and I got into a hole.
“I think with the team it’s the same thing: We’ve tried to be more aggressive, and we stay aggressive when we get guys on to push them across.”