Thomas Pannone worked his way back toward his New England roots with the very first pitch of the season.
Opening the season with High-A Lynchburg, the Cranston, R.I., native pumped a strike down the plate with his initial offering, then tossed five hitless, scoreless innings in which he allowed just two walks.
That trend was nearly duplicated in his next start, when he allowed just two hits over six innings against the Salem Red Sox, and again gave up no runs.
Next time out it was only one hit and no runs, then it happened again and again until his fifth start for the Hillcats — seven innings of three-hit ball — proved to show the organization that he was ready to make the jump up.
Pannone landed at Double-A Akron, and in his first start, he did more of the same, holding the Trenton Thunder scoreless over 5⅔ innings.