After eight years, two major surgeries, and a year sitting out of baseball, former Virginia baseball star Danny Hultzen made his major league debut. With the Chicago Cubs trailing 8-3 on Sunday afternoon, Hultzen entered the game. He struck out three of the batters faced and gave up just one hit (and hit potential MVP Christian Yelich). Hultzen tossed 15 strikes in his 21 total pitches thrown.
Career Ks No. 1, 2 and 3 for Danny Hultzen. pic.twitter.com/Nmczjo57MM— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 8, 2019
Hultzen, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has had an arduous journey to this point. He got up to Triple-A ball with the Mariners in his draft season, but never made it to the big show until the Cubs called him up on September 6. After injuries and surgeries forced the south paw to sit out the 2014 and 2017 seasons, Hultzen spent the latter of those two back in Charlottesville finishing his degree and working with the UVA baseball team.
Before being called up, Hultzen had an ERA of 1.26 with 23 strikeouts with the Iowa Cubs.
“(But) I never thought I was done,” Hultzen told the Chicago Tribune. “Retiring and getting away was never in my mind. When I talk about the hard times, the hard times were not ‘I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore’...It’s ‘how am I going to get through this, how can I get past this?’ But never in my mind did I want to say, ‘I’m done.’”