It has been a long road, but Matt Purke finally saw his dream realized.
The former TCU ace was called up to the majors by the Chicago White Sox on Friday afternoon. It’s the first time Purke has reached the big leagues. For a while, it seemed unlikely. After being drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft the by Washington Nationals, various arm injuries limited his progress.
It’s what we play for and my dream of being a professional baseball player in the big leagues finally came true.
Former TCU ace Matt Purke
The left-hander had Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in May 2014 to repair a torn UCL ligament, and he became a free agent in November. The White Sox signed him to a minor league deal a couple weeks later with an invitation to spring training.
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“It’s just a sense of accomplishment, excitement and anxiety,” Purke said. “All the emotions come through. The biggest thing is that you’ve achieved your goal. We’ve been playing this game since we were 4 and 5 years old. Twenty years later I finally made it to where I wanted to be. It’s just a wonderful feeling. I’m truly blessed to be here.”
In 2009, Purke was the 14th overall draft pick by the Rangers, but he didn’t sign. Instead, he enrolled at TCU and helped lead the Horned Frogs to their first College World Series appearance in 2010. He went 16-0 and was the consensus national freshman pitcher of the year. His sophomore season was limited because of an arm injury before the Nationals drafted him.
After going 16-0 and leading TCU to its first College World Series in 2010, Matt Purke was the consensus national freshman pitcher of the year.
Purke has transitioned from a starter to reliever and White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he could be used as a long man.
In 10 games (one start) in Triple A this season, Purke has a 2.30 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings.
After his long road to the majors, Purke probably doesn’t mind how he’s used.
“It’s what we play for and my dream of being a professional baseball player in the big leagues finally came true,” he said. “It was a very exciting moment for me, my family and everyone who has been a part of this journey. It’s been a long one. It hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t been short and now it’s time to enjoy it.”
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