Sports

Somerset Patriots Re-Sign All-Star LHP Pitcher

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Somerset Patriots left hander Duane Below will return for the 2018 season. Credits: Courtesy Somerset Patriots
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BRIDGEWATER, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have re-signed 2017 Atlantic League All-Star left-handed pitcher Duane Below for the 2018 season. He marks the third Atlantic League All-Star to join the team this week.

“I’m grateful and excited that the Patriots wanted me back this year,” said Below. “I’m looking forward to getting back to Somerset and back to work. We have some unfinished business to take care of from last year.”

Below enters his second season with the Somerset Patriots and second in the Atlantic League. The lefty went 5-1 last year with a 2.88 ERA over 62.1 innings pitched. His 46 relief appearances ranked third on the Patriots, while his ERA led the team among pitchers with at least 25 appearances. Additionally, Below struck out 58 batters against just nine walks.

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The 6’3 southpaw did not allow a run over his first nine relief innings with Somerset and carried a 2.21 ERA in the first half en route to an All-Star Game selection. Below tossed a scoreless inning of relief for the Liberty Division All-Stars at TD Bank Ballpark on July 12th.

Below shined at the end of the season as well. He did not allow an earned run over his final 12 outings (including the postseason) and did not allow a single walk over his last 14 outings (including the postseason).

The Britton, Michigan native appeared in 43 games (three starts) at the Major League level spread across three seasons (2011-13) with the Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins. Below’s best season in the majors came in 2012 with the Tigers in which he went 2-1 with a 3.88 ERA and 29 strikeouts against just eight walks in 27 appearances (one start).

Below spent 2015 and 2016 with Triple-A Las Vegas in the New York Mets organization after spending eight of the first nine years of his career in the Tigers organization. He recorded nine wins with Las Vegas in 35 appearances (28 starts) over those two years, including a 2.19 ERA over 49.1 innings of work in 2015.

“Duane was one of our leaders in the bullpen and did a tremendous job in a variety of roles last year,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “We see Duane helping our club in many ways again this year; he is ready for any challenge that is presented. Below is such a team-oriented guy who is unselfish and always looking to help those around him. He is a necessity for any club and pitching staff.”

The Lake Michigan College alumnus owns a 70-62 record with a 3.69 ERA over 248 appearances (182 starts) in 12 seasons in the minors.

Opening Day is April 27th.

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