Saturday, September 3, 2016

Clinton Hollon Invited to Instructs

+baseballbetsy photo


  Toronto Blue Jays RHP prospect Clinton Hollon, who has lost considerable time to injury and suspension since he joined the organization, has been invited to the Blue Jays Instructional League camp later this month to resume his career.

  The electric-armed righty led his high school to a state title as a junior, but concerns about both his right elbow and makeup caused him to fall out of the first round of the 2013 draft, and he fell to the Blue Jays in the 2nd round. He pitched through elbow pain in his first pro season that year, and gutted it out some more the following spring, but ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery in May of 2014.

  Hollon came back with a bang in June of 2015, quickly becoming the ace of Vancouver's staff before sizzling in his Midwest League debut with Lansing two months later.  

   That, unfortunately, has proven to be the high water mark of his career to date, as 2016 was a complete washout for Hollon.  A positive PED test for amphetamines in late August of 2015 cost him the last two weeks of that season, and would have cost him the first 8 weeks of 2016, but just a few weeks before his scheduled return, the Commissioner' Office announced another 50-game suspension for Hollon after he failed a second drug test for a drug of abuse.

  In the past, the club has shown little patience for players who have failed a drug of abuse test, but considering their investment in Hollon and a few other factors, they sent him home to Kentucky in May, where he has spent most of his time regrouping and pondering his future.  Blue Jays Director of Player Development Gil Kim confirmed that Hollon is now at the team's minor league complex in Dunedin working on his strength and conditioning, and will be taking part in Instructs once camp opens in a few weeks.

  Hollon formerly had a strong presence on social media, but understandably has cut back on his accessibility.   He has a great deal of promise, and here's to hoping that this is the first step in getting his career back on track.

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   In an unrelated note, Kim confirmed that C Max Pentecost, who was limited to DH duties at Lansing and Dunedin this year after losing all of 2015 to shoulder issues, will not be getting back behind the plate until next spring training.  There had been some thought that he might return at some point late this summer, but the club opted for caution with the 2014 1st rounder.  With Russell Martin firmly ensconced at the position in Toronto, there is no need to rush Pentecost, who will likely begin next year with Dunedin.

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