BRADENTON (93.7 The FAN) - The road to the Major Leagues was not an easy one for reliever Nick Burdi and he's poised to make the second comeback from surgery of his career.
Burdi underwent surgery for Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome last year and it took him months of rehab to get back to the point he reached on Wednesday at Pirate City, throwing a live batting practice session.
"It was good," Burdi said about the session. "A little amped up on the first few and then the next three kind of dialed it back in. The fastball and slider felt sharp. I felt very encouraged by the end of it. It was exciting to get back out there and kind of just start competing again."
Burdi was known to touch triple digits on the radar gun last year and was pleased with the number he hit in that first session.
"I think it was like 97, 98 and the slider was up to 90 again."
Asked if he felt anything in the arm after throwing, Burdi updated us on that as well.
"Usually post throwing is when I feel it. With these surgeries and battling it for years [Burdi also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017], I don't have that achy ness and soreness so that's the part that I look forward to is being able to feel good day in and day out."
Pirates Director of Sports Medicine Todd Tomczyk talked about the road back for Burdi and where things stands for him right now from a medical stand point.
"With Nick, it's just getting back into a normal workload...He and his body are getting reacclimated with normal baseball workload volume."
Tomczyk talked about the personal side of working with these players and said "my heart just sunk" when he saw Burdi go down last year, but added now that "What was the most important thing in this whole journey was to watch video of him...throwing live BP early. The last time he faced a hitter was horrific in his mind, but to get over that mental hump was a testament of Nick's hard work, the organization and all the resources that poured into him. It was pretty special to hear and watch."
Click the audio below to hear more from Burdi including how frustrating it was to suffer this latest injury after getting to finally pitch in high leverage situations and how badly he wants to get back to that high strikeout per nine innings pitched ratio he had last year.