By CHRIS HOBBS
Hayden Deal’s fifth pro season is underway, and he is back in Double A and pitching for the Mississippi Braves for the second straight season.
Deal, a 6-foot-4 left-hander who starred at Bandys High and in college at Presbyterian. has pitched in one of the Braves’ first three games.
Mississippi fell at home 5-1 to Montgomery (Ala.) to open the season on Friday and Deal, in relief, worked 2 2/3 innings. He allowed no hits, on runs. walked three and struck out four, throwing strikes on 28 of his 49 pitches and facing 10 batters.
He did not pitch in a 5-4 loss to Montgomery on Saturday or in the Braves’ 8-2 victory on Sunday.
The Braves (1-2) start a series at Biloxi (Miss.) on Tuesday night and play there through Sunday.
Deal has 88 career appearances — 44 of them starts — and is expected to be used primarily as a reliever this year. He s 20-15 as a pro with an ERA of 3.10 with five saves and 319 2/3 innings pitched with 284 strikeouts.
Deal’s with the Braves organization for the sixth year — there was no minor league season because of COVID in 2020 — and he was signed after a workout before a Braves scout at Bandys High.
After watching Deal pitch, the scout called the Braves and Deal was offered a contract.
CURRENT DOUBLE-A SOUTHERN LEAGUE SOUTH STANDINGS: https://www.milb.com/standings/southern/
HAYDEN DEAL’S PRO CAREER STATS: https://www.milb.com/player/hayden-deal-677421
OPENING DAY ROSTER: https://www.milb.com/mississippi/roster
MISSISSIPPI BRAVES SCHEDULE: https://www.milb.com/mississippi/schedule/2022-04