Sam Sherman

CHICAGO — When Zack Burdi was drafted by the White Sox in the first round of the 2016 draft, it looked like he wouldn't have to wait long to see the major leagues.

Between Tommy John surgery and a knee injury in separate seasons, Burdi's path to the show took a lot longer than anyone expected, and at times looked anything but a guarantee.

He finally made his debut on Saturday afternoon, hitting 99 mph with his first pitch, and even recording his first two career strikeouts in the process.

Burdi was so zoned in for his first appearance, he hardly noticed his milestone K.

"It wasn’t on my mind, but obviously, I got the message," Burdi said after the game, having gotten the first strikeout ball tossed back from catcher Yasmani Grandal and getting ready to attack his next batter. "I was excited and amped up, uber-focused out there."

The White Sox bullpen may not be riddled with experience, but what they lack in innings pitched, they make up for in impressive stuff. It's only one appearance, but Burdi's was a great one. If the Downers Grove native can end up being a key part of the bullpen, it will only make his comeback story sweeter. 

"There was a long time and a lot of sitting around and waiting for this to happen," Burdi said, ticking off TJS, knee injury, pandemic, and other setbacks that got in the way of his debut. "To see this to come to fruition, for everyone involved this is a huge day."

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