The Somerset Patriots have signed former team right-handed pitcher and three-year Major Leaguer Mitch Atkins for the 2017 season.
“There is definitely a reason why I wanted to come back to Somerset,” said Atkins. “It’s because it is a great place to play, the fans are awesome and there is a winning atmosphere.”
Atkins will enter his second season with the Somerset Patriots and in the Atlantic League. The righty began the 2013 season in Somerset, where he made seven starts before his contract was purchased by the Atlanta Braves organization in late May. Prior to leaving, Atkins went 3-2 with a 3.97 ERA for the Patriots, including 39 strikeouts over 43 innings of work. He later went 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) for Double-A Mississippi to end the 2013 campaign.
Atkins was signed by Somerset again for the 2015 season, but signed to play in Taiwan before the end of spring training.
The Gibsonville, North Carolina resident has made appearances in three different seasons at the Major League level: 2009-10 with the Chicago Cubs and 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles. Atkins appeared in 10 games (three starts) over those three years in the majors and tallied 17 strikeouts over 22.2 innings pitched.
Last year, Atkins split time between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in the Boston Red Sox organization. Overall, the 6’4” hurler earned six wins with two saves and struck out 151 batters over 131.1 innings of work.
“It is always a pleasure to add a polished pitcher such as Mitch to our staff,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “Mitch has been with us before and we are extremely happy to have him back. He has a tremendous work ethic, pounds the zone with multiple pitches and always seems to have a plan for the opposition. Mitch will give our team a great chance to win every time he takes the hill and is a vital addition to our pitching staff this year.”
The 13-year pro owns a career 88-74 record in the minor leagues with a 4.29 ERA and 1,182 strikeouts, including 122 games (94 starts) at the Triple-A level.
Tickets to the 2017 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford, which includes the team’s 20th Anniversary, are on sale now. TD Bank Ballpark will be the host of the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game presented by RWJBarnabas Health and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey July 12. For more information, stop by the ballpark, call 908-252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.