The Panthers have added another experienced reliever to their bullpen.
Twenty-three-year-old Matt Brennan, a former London Major who pitched for the London Rippers in the professional independent Frontier League last year, is expected to join the team Thursday.
Brennan, seen throwing a bullpen session above, will replace Kyle McKay, who left the team for a spot with the Medicine Hat Mavericks of the Western Major Baseball League. The right hander struck out nine batters in 7.1 innings with the Rippers last year, but struggled with walks, giving up eight and allowing eight runs.
The six-foot, 195-pound reliever has been recovering from a throwing injury this season, but the Panthers expect to stretch him out and be ready to pitch within a few games. He carried a tidy 3.01 earned run average while pitching for the London Majors in the 2011 regular season.
McKay, who pitched for the University of Saint Francis in Illinois and clocked in the low-90 miles per hour range, had been an effective option for the team out of the bullpen in his few appearances this season. He struck out ten batters over 7.1 innings in three appearances.
The hard-throwing reliever averaged a strikeout per inning for the Panthers in the 2012 regular season and playoffs, ringing up a total of 48 batters in 12 appearances.
The new acquisition comes on news the Panthers don’t expect ace Marcos Reyna to miss much time after getting drilled on his throwing elbow by a line-drive in the first inning of Sunday’s win over Barrie.
Reyna fielded the ball for an out but left the game in obvious pain, and lost feeling in his hand for about half an hour.
General Manager Scott Ballantyne described the injury as “a really bad bruise,” and said Reyna’s next start will be pushed back to Tuesday, June 18, against Guelph.