Hectic doesn't do justice to describe what I have been through during the last month. A few weeks ago, I still was in Double-A Birmingham. Then I was moved up and flew straight into Rochester to join Triple-A Charlotte. Seven days later, I was in the line to get some
Hectic doesn't do justice to describe what I have been through during the last month. A few weeks ago, I still was in Double-A Birmingham. Then I was moved up and flew straight into Rochester to join Triple-A Charlotte. Seven days later, I was in the line to get some food after a game. The pitching coach, Steve McCatty, came up, and said to go to manager Mark Grudzielanek's office.
I had no idea what's going on. The first thing that came to my mind was, "Gosh, I'm going back to Birmingham."
Mark told me I was going to Chicago. I just kind of sat there with a stupid grin on my face. I didn't know what to say. I tried to make it feel real in my mind, tried to understand what was actually happening. It felt surreal when I walked out of that office.
:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::
It probably was around 11 p.m. that night, and I was on a flight to Chicago the next morning by 8. I definitely did not sleep. My heart was pounding all night.
When I walked into the White Sox locker room, I was kind of dumbfounded. I didn't know what to do. Adam Engel came over and showed me the ropes. Once I got into my normal routine, things definitely started to settle down. My nerves started to come back to me.
That night, we're playing the Cubs, and I get the call to start warming up. My heart starts pounding again. I'm thinking, "Just don't be that guy who throws the ball into the stands."
I got loose, took a deep breath, and realized I was going to do this; pitch in my first big league game.
As soon as I got to the mound, I looked around at the full stadium. It is an awesome environment, Cubs-White Sox. The biggest thing I wanted to do was throw a first-pitch strike to Anthony Rizzo. Just close your eyes, throw it as hard as you can, and hope it goes over the plate. Once that happened, I'm thinking, "This is what I've been trying to do all my life. Let's just have fun."
It was great to strike out Rizzo. Unfortunately, I threw a sinker that didn't sink to Kyle Schwarber, who hit it out of the park. First punchout, first homer given up. I'm hoping for many more strikeouts and a lot less homers. At the end of the day, I looked at my first big league inning pitched as a positive. The best part is that my family was there to see me. I really believe it was as special for them as it was for me.
Twelve months ago, I was sitting in Great Falls, Mont. Did I ever imagine being in the big leagues a year later? Absolutely not. After having Tommy John surgery in August 2015, I was getting back at it in the Pioneer League throwing against the Billings Mustangs.
I had a good rest of the season, and the White Sox invited me to Spring Training this year. That's when it set in what could be for me.
I said, "They obviously see something in me that they like. I need to see it myself and build off that."
If I had my druthers, I wouldn't have started at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem this year, but it worked out good for me. It gave me the hunger to get where I want to be. And now I'm here.
It's a great situation. I am with a lot of young guys in the bullpen who are going through the same thing as I am. Everyone is pulling for each other to do well.
I'm viewing this as an opportunity to state your case to make the Major League roster for next year. There's nothing guaranteed at this level. My goal is to get better every day, and show them what I can do.
As told to Ed Sherman.
Aaron Bummer is a relief pitcher with the Chicago White Sox.