KITCHENER – Mitch Clarke, another local product of the Ontario Terriers program, has joined the Panthers bullpen.
Clarke, a Kitchener-raised Forest Heights Collegiate grad, is a former Cincinnati Reds prospect who was drafted in the 19th round in 2009. The six-foot-two, 220-pound left-handed pitcher has a 2.85 ERA over five seasons in the minors, striking out 99 batters in 117 innings of work.
The 22-year-old is trying to rebuild his career after getting a 50-game suspension from the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball after failing his second drug test - but for a recreational drug, and not a performance-enhancing substance - last September.
Injury limited him to only one game last season for the Reds’ rookie affiliate in Arizona. In 2011, he was 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 14 games split between Dayton and rookie league Billings.
Signing with the Panthers is a reunion of sorts for Clarke, who played with teammates Tanner Nivins and Kevin Nickel on the Ontario Terriers.
To make room on the roster, the Panthers have released reliever Adama Lentz. Lentz had seen limited playing time this season, giving up 11 hits and seven earned runs in only three innings of work.