Zack Burdi makes MLB debut after several injury setbacks, but White Sox fall to Indians, 7-1

LaMond Pope, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CHICAGO -- Zack Burdi received a call from Chicago White Sox director of player development Chris Getz on Friday night.

Getz informed the pitcher, who has battled various injuries, he was being called up to the majors.

"Once (the phone call) happened, all the feelings started rushing in," Burdi said before Saturday's game against the Cleveland Indians. "The excitement and just the overwhelmingness of receiving that news was crazy."

The Downers Grove, Ill., native made his major league debut Saturday, pitching one scoreless relief inning in the 7-1 loss to the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Burdi allowed one hit and struck out Beau Taylor and Cesar Hernandez in the sixth inning. His fastball reached 99 mph.

"Definitely was excited, definitely had the blood pumping and had to slow it down a little bit," he said after the game. "It was awesome, it was exciting. It was an effective inning."


The Sox selected Burdi, 25, in the first round (26th overall) of the 2016 draft out of Louisville. He is 2-9 with a 4.31 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 82 games (one start) over four minor league seasons in the Sox system.

He made 29 appearances at Triple-A Charlotte in 2017 before leaving a July game with a strained right triceps and missed the rest of the season. Burdi was also sidelined in 2018 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He had 17 outings for Double-A Birmingham in 2019, but his season was cut short because of a strained patella tendon in his right knee.

"Being from Chicago and making your debut for the White Sox is what 50% of Chicago dreams of, the other 50% obviously dreams about the Cubs," Burdi said. "But for me, this was my dream and this was something I thought about when I was a kid. Three years ago, to have that cut short with injuries and to think that I was going to get the chance to prove myself again and then get cut short again with another couple of injuries, back-to-back years, and then sadly with the pandemic going on and the world kind of being as crazy as it is, that huge gap.

"There was a long time and a lot of sitting around and waiting and wanting this to happen and prepping for it. To see all that come to fruition, not only for me but for the people who have helped me along the way. This is a huge day for a lot of people and I'm really excited that it's finally here and everyone was able to experience it the way that they did."


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