'I’m a big leaguer now': Bacus' perfect debut

August 16th, 2020

’ road to the Majors was a long and winding one, spanning eight years across 10 Minor League teams.

Friday, his big league dream finally came true.

“I think if you look in my hotel room, it shows,” Bacus said on Saturday. “I haven’t really unpacked anything. It hasn’t hit me -- at all. The last 24 hours have been pretty crazy.”

Bacus was added to Washington’s roster prior to the resumption of the Nationals’ suspended game against the Orioles on Friday. He entered the game in the top of the eighth with the Nats trailing, 6-2, but the 29-year-old did his part with a pair of perfect innings.

“He threw ground balls,” said manager Dave Martinez. “He’s got a good sinker, he's got a really good slider/curveball and uses all of his pitches. As you can tell, he knows who he is; he shook Yan Gomes off quite a few times to get to the pitch that he wanted to throw, that he felt comfortable throwing. That’s good to see.”

For Bacus -- who took part in his first Major League Spring Training this year -- this marks the first time in his career he has been on an active big league roster. In eight Minor League seasons, he’s 42-25 with 28 saves and a 3.53 ERA across 225 games.

“It’s one of those things that you have to buy into who you are,” Bacus said. “It took me a long time -- about seven years -- to actually realize who I was as a pitcher.”

A ninth-round pick by Oakland in the 2012 Draft, Bacus was acquired by the Nationals in Aug. 2013 for Kurt Suzuki, and he re-signed with Washington this past offseason.

“He worked really hard to be here,” Martinez said. “He threw the ball well in Spring Training in March. We liked his stuff and he worked really hard during this whole Fredericksburg deal. We thought that he was ready to come up and help us and as you can see, he threw the ball exceptionally well. Hopefully he can continue to do that and help us win games.”

Bacus recorded five ground-ball outs during his two innings, also picking up the first strikeout of his career as Austin Hays swung through a slider.

“Getting that last out and running over to first when [Asdrúbal Cabrera] flipped me the ball, I looked into the glove and I was like, ‘I think you did it, man. I think you really did it,’” Bacus said. “So it’s kind of cool to actually be able to say, ‘I’m a big leaguer now.’”