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Watch: MLB Pitcher Throws Routine Pitch, Crumples in Pain on the Mound

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After a devastating injury to his right elbow led to Tommy John surgery in May 2017, Nick Burdi battled back and made his MLB debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates last September.

Which made what happened in the Pirates’ 12-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night even tougher to watch.

Burdi threw a pitch to Arizona’s Jarrod Dyson and then collapsed on the mound in apparent agony.

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The team soon announced that Burdi had left the game with “elbow and biceps pain” and was being “further examined.”

“That was heart-wrenching,” Pirates reliever Kyle Crick, who was hit with the loss Monday, said, according to MLB.com. “To know what he went through the previous year to get back here, and having success in the big leagues and something like that happens, it’s tough.”

No sooner had Burdi come back from an injury and a surgical procedure that takes a full year of recovery than it looked like he was going to miss extended time once again.

Luckily, what looked truly horrifying was downgraded to something quite a bit more hopeful.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Tuesday that an MRI revealed Burdi had a “strained biceps tendon,” which is consistent with where Burdi grabbed his arm, and “flexor mass,” which is broadly consistent with the force acting against the human body when throwing a baseball as hard as one can.

Passan said the diagnosis meant Burdi would avoid another surgery.

The Pirates moved Burdi onto the 10-day injury list on Tuesday and called up Steven Brault from Triple-A Indianapolis.

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The team’s director of sports medicine, Todd Tomczyk, said the Pirates were “gathering information to get the most definitive diagnosis as to what’s going on.”

Pittsburgh didn’t comment on the ESPN report, according to MLB.com, but the team did say Burdi is receiving a second opinion from Dr. Keith Meister, who performed his Tommy John surgery.

“I’m not going to get caught up in the initial diagnosis yet. I want to let this thing play out,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, according to MLB.com. “A lot of people like to get information out first. I’m a big fan of getting information out that’s correct and accurate. We’ll just wait and see, man.

“We’re hoping for the best. A lot of thoughts and prayers going his way. We’ll wait and see what happens.”

The 26-year-old Burdi’s teammates were at the forefront of those offering support after the game Monday.

“He’s in good spirits. He’s engaging. He’s talking to us. He’s not in a corner, crying,” Pirates starter Joe Musgrove said, per MLB.com. “He’s ready to face whatever it is. He’s got the work ethic and the mentality to bounce back from something like this.”

“It’s really quiet right now around the whole clubhouse,” Musgrove continued. “Everyone in here saw how hard he worked over the last year and a half, how committed he was to his program in spring training and being a professional and making sure he was getting the treatment and work he needed every day. And to see him come out and start the season the way he has, it’s heartbreaking to see him have to go through it.

“Everyone in here feels for him. It’s really hard to see it happen.”

Even Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo had words of sympathy for a fellow member of baseball’s fraternity of professionals.

“It’s awful. We’re competitors up until something like that happens, and then we’re all in the same family,” Lovullo said, according to MLB.com. “You hate to see anything like that happen. The way he went down, you’re just hoping for the absolute best. For those of us that have been in the game for a long time, you know that there’s a certain degree of pain and tolerance that these guys can handle. But obviously, that was extremely unfortunate, and we’re hoping for the absolute best news for him and the Pirates.”

Burdi was picked in the Rule 5 draft in 2017 after an odyssey in which he was originally drafted in 2011 and again in 2014 after initially choosing the University of Louisville over going directly to the minor leagues.

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing him back on the mound soon.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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