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Lance Pendleton

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Lance Michael Pendleton

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Lance Pendleton made it to the major leagues in 2011.

Out of Rice University, Pendleton was selected by the New York Yankees in the 4th round of the 2005 amateur draft. He was the second pitcher taken by New York that year, following J. Brent Cox. Lance had a 3.93 ERA as a college freshman, walking 19 in 18 1/3 IP. In his sophomore year, he allowed two runs (one earned) in 3 2/3 IP and was 1-0. He pitched in the 2004 College World Series with Rice. He then was 5-3 with two saves and a 3.69 ERA his junior year. He had earlier been drafted out of high school, in 2002, by his hometown Houston Astros.

He made his professional debut with the Staten Island Yankees in 2005, going 1-0, 2.33 in 9 games. He then underwent surgery on his right elbow and missed the entire 2006 season. Starting back at square one, he made 8 appearances with the GCL Yankees in 2007, the lowest rung in the Yankees' minor league ladder, before being assigned to the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League in 2008. There he was 7-9, 3.52 in 28 games, striking out 119 in 128 innings. He had a very good 2009 season split between the Class A Tampa Yankees and AA Trenton Thunder; in 28 games (26 starts), he was 12-8 with a 3.14 ERA in 149 innings, striking out 130 batters, the highest total in the Yankees organization that year. He made the end-of-season Florida State League All-Star team; the other right-handed starters picked were Amaury Rivas and David Bromberg.

Pendleton continued to stake his place as one of the Yankees' top pitching prospects in 2010, reaching AAA on the strength of a combined 12-5 record and a 3.61 ERA between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He struck out 111 batters while allowing only 95 hits at Trenton before his promotion to AAA. He tied Hector Noesi for the most starts (27) by a Yankee farmhand and was two wins shy of Noesi, the leader. Pendleton finished 5th in the Eastern League in ERA, between Justin Wilson and Daryl Maday. But he was not promoted to the Yankees' major league roster after the season, giving the Houston Astros an opportunity to grab him in that December's 2010 Rule V draft. He got a look in spring training, but was returned to the Yankees before the start of the 2011 season.

He started the 2011 season at AAA, where his first two appearances were in long relief. The Houston native had given up only 1 run in 5 2/3 innings when the Yankees gave him the call to "The Show". In his major league debut with the Yankees on April 15th, Pendleton pitched three perfect innings in relief of starter Ivan Nova against the Texas Rangers; he had been called up from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day when Phil Hughes was placed on the disabled list. In all he pitched 11 games for the Yankees, with a good 3.21 ERA , but more walks than strikeouts. The Yankees placed him on waivers in September in order to add some other prospects to their major league roster, and the Astros claimed him once again. He made four appearances for his hometown team, but gave up 9 runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. he became a free agent after the season.

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