I mean, this is just terrible luck for Chicago Cubs pitcher Nick Burdi, who has battled through so many injuries since he was drafted in 2014 and now out of literally nowhere the 30-year-old is going to be out for a while after undergoing an appendectomy.
Burdi was called up from Triple-A last week, when the Cubs were on the road against the Houston Astros and he pitched in his first MLB game in nearly three years, dating back to his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. The right-hander also made back-to-back appearances for the Cubs this past weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies, which may have signaled management’s intrigue in giving Burdi a bigger role moving forward.
Burdi was lighting up the radar gun, hitting triple digits in both outings, but now he’s headed to the injured list. The Cubs are calling up right-handed pitcher Javier Assad to take Burdi’s spot in the bullpen.
We’re probably looking at one month at the earliest until Burdi returns.
Assad’s overall numbers look rough, but that’s almost all due to his first few innings against the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers. He’s been up a few times since, making a spot start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in April and then he saved the bullpen with two consecutive long-relief appearances against the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals, coming in after short starts from Jameson Taillon.
Assad has been pretty good during his time at Triple-A with the Iowa Cubs after he was stretched out and returned to his regular starting role. The 25-year-old has made four starts at Triple-A, where he’s recorded a 3.68 ERA. In his last outing, Assad allowed two runs in four innings on May 18.
Nick Burdi Career
Burdi was picked in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, the second time he was selected in the draft. The first time was back in 2011, when the Twins first drafted him in the 24th round. The right-handed pitcher didn’t sign and decided to continue his playing career at the University of Louisville. In three seasons with Louisville, Burdi recorded a 1.79 ERA in 95.1 innings, which included 18 saves in his junior season, when he had a 0.49 ERA in 37 innings.
Things haven’t quite been smooth for Burdi since he signed with the Twins out of Louisville in 2014. The right-hander did make it up to Double-A in 2015, but then the 2016 season was the start of what would be a series of devastating injuries. Burdi only threw three innings in 2016, missing almost the entire year because of a bone bruise in his pitching elbow. But he came back and was great to begin the 2017 season, posting a 0.53 ERA in 17 innings of relief in Double-A. But then another setback.
In May 2017, Burdi underwent Tommy John surgery, ending his season and his time in the Twins organization. In the offseason, Burdi was picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft and was then traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for international signing bonus money. Burdi did pitch in 2018, returning from Tommy John surgery in July. The right-hander made 10 total appearances in 2018 in the minors, before making his first two MLB appearance in September with the Pirates.
Burdi made the Pirates Opening Day roster in 2019, and he was having an OK season until he gave up five earned runs in a third of an inning on April 22, 2019, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. That was his last appearance of the 2019 season.
On June 25, 2019, Burdi underwent thoracic outlet surgery to relieve symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.
But once again, Burdi came back. In the shortened 2020 season, the righty made three relief outings with the Pirates. However, after the regular season ended, Burdi underwent Tommy John surgery again. In November, the pitcher was designated for assignment.
Burdi signed on with the San Diego Padres later in the offseason, but he didn’t pitch in 2021, as he was still recovery from Tommy John surgery. He was with the Padres’ Triple-A team in 2022, but didn’t pitch, was released in April and then re-signed with the Padres in May, but didn’t pitch in a game in 2022 either.
The Cubs selected Burdi in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft this past offseason.