PEORIA, Ariz. — If good things come to those who wait, the patient Padres faithful would be content with their No. 3 pick from the latest MLB draft.
MacKenzie Gore took the hill for the first time as a pro on Monday, toeing the slab for the Arizona Rookie League Padres. With scouts, locals and coaches lined up outside the Peoria Sports Complex stadium anxiously awaiting the southpaw’s first outing, the Whiteville, N.C. native didn’t disappoint.
He allowed a walk, a hit and struck out two while picking off another over his 2.0 innings of work, topping off at 95 while working 93-94 consistently.
It didn’t come without some cobwebs, though.
Gore got behind 3-0 to the first hitter of the game before issuing a walk on five pitches. The next hitter, he flashed his slider to get No. 14 pick, Nick Pratto, to look foolish en route to his first career strikeout.
MacKenzie Gore's first strikeout as a pro. No chance. pic.twitter.com/A0oC3xuXAo
— Alex Kolodziej (@AKolodziejFRS) July 18, 2017
Gore went on to pick off the hitter he walked and got out of the frame unscathed. He struck out another in the second, and that was all she wrote. While command was an issue early on, Gore’s athleticism was on display with a leg kick alone that should be enshrined in Cooperstown
It was a highly anticipated debut for those that strolled into the confines, as it probably was the left-hander who was on his own little Gore Tour over recent weeks.
After hearing his name called No. 3 by the Padres, Gore piloted Whiteville to its third straight state title, wrapping a bow on a senior season in which he finished 11-0 with a 0.19 ERA while striking out 158 batters over 74.1 innings.
Jammed in between his final high school start and first outing as a pro was a trip to Los Angeles, where Gore was honored as the Gatorade Player of the Year.
Not too shabby a couple months for the lauded lefty.