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Lefty pitching prospect Purke gets tips from Livo

Lefty pitching prospect Purke gets tips from Livo

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals coach and ambassador Livan Hernandez watched left-hander Matt Purke throw his first live bullpen session on Saturday.

After Purke was done, Hernandez told the left-hander that he was getting lazy with his front side when he was throwing his breaking ball.

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"He wanted me to stay strong on the offspeed and [follow] through," Purke said. "That way, those pitches would be up and over the plate. He said if you don't keep it strong, it's going to go down every time. Nobody will swing at it."

Purke, who was rated by MLB.com as the 6th best prospect in the Nationals' farm system in 2013, is finally healthy entering Spring Training. He had his throwing shoulder cleaned up before last season, and now he is ready to show the Nationals what he can do.

"I want to have a good spring and just go from there," Purke said. I can't control where they send me or what they do with me, but I can control what I do between the lines. My focus is to prepare and be the best I can be out there."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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