One of the best stories on the Pittsburgh Pirates quickly turned into tragedy on Monday night.
With high 90s heat and a wipeout slider, reliever Nick Burdi had racked up 17 strikeouts in 8.2 innings heading into the Pirates’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and looked like a relief ace in the making. His stuff was the reward for a Pirates team that stuck with him as a prospect after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017.
Burdi’s season took a turn for the worse when he gave up a home run, then allowed three straight singles to open the eighth inning. Then, one pitch potentially ended his season.
Facing D-backs outfielder Jarrod Dyson, Burdi threw a 97-mph fastball, doubled over in pain, grabbed his elbow and collapsed to the ground. A Pirates trainer was soon out to attend to the 26-year-old, who had tears in his eyes.
#Pirates No. 24 prospect Nick Burdi, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017, exited tonight's game clutching his right elbow/bicep after releasing a 96.7 FB.
Here's @adamdberry with the details: https://t.co/ZkdahYq6gH pic.twitter.com/kSxJS8PUGu
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 23, 2019
Burdi obviously left the game after that, and his team clearly wasn’t confident he’d be back soon.
#Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Burdi's injury:
“It just takes the breath right out of you. … It just gives you something just to contemplate — the fine line between competing one pitch and then the next pitch, you’re down like that.”https://t.co/b6VozafOtJ
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) April 23, 2019
Nick Burdi has earned a lot of respect in the Pirates clubhouse, so it was a somber room tonight.
Musgrove: "It's heartbreaking."
Diaz: "He was crying. That's something that broke my heart."
Crick: "That was heart-wrenching."
Hurdle: "It takes the breath right out of you."
— Adam Berry (@adamdberry) April 23, 2019
The Pirates’ director of sports medicine said the team was still gathering information before making a diagnosis, per Pittsburgh reporter Alan Saunders, but it’s hard to imagine Burdi returning this season given how much can go wrong in a reconstructed elbow.
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