Pirates rookie Nick Burdi says elbow pain was ‘a pulling, stabbing sensation’
A few pitches before the one that drove him to his knees, Nick Burdi felt a tweak.
But nothing like what came next.
For the first time since he hurt his arm Monday night throwing a 97 mph fastball, Burdi spoke about the injury Wednesday after the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 11-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at PNC Park.
“It just felt like a pulling, kind of stabbing sensation throughout the bicep,” said Burdi, who immediately clutched his right biceps, sobbing.
“It was a traumatic response to a traumatic injury,” said Todd Tomczyk, the Pirates’ director of sports medicine.
“I felt something kind of tweak a few pitches previous to it,” Burdi said, “and when it went on that one pitch, I knew something was serious.”
Burdi, a 26-year-old rookie, said the only pain he has felt that was close to that occurred when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament, leading to Tommy John surgery in 2017. But he said he never feared that the new pain was related to the surgery.
“I never really even thought about my UCL,” he said. “I grabbed my bicep right away. Luckily, it wasn’t the UCL and just praying for the best now.”
Burdi, who is on the 10-day injured list, will travel with the team to Los Angeles on Thursday. Then, he’ll go to Dallas where the Pirates will play two games against the Texas Rangers, and he’ll meet and get a second opinion from Dr. Keith Meister, who is his Tommy John surgeon.
“Todd, the medical staff and I, we thought that would be the best route to go,” Burdi said, “with (Meister) doing the surgery and seeing how the elbow was previously. I feel comfortable with him, as does my family.”
Burdi said support from his teammates has helped him through the past three days.
“It means a lot, especially being new to the organization, new to the clubhouse,” he said. “It kind of shows the sense of brotherhood and family we have as a team.
“This team is going to move on with or without me. They have guys in the bullpen who are going to get the job done and pitch well. It’s frustrating, but I’m back in the clubhouse, back around the guys, just trying to move forward and get ready for whatever comes next.”
Burdi said he still feels some aches and soreness that he is treating with ice, heat and anti-inflammatory medication.
“Trying to calm it down as much as we can. Taking it one day at a time and hoping for the best.”
Burdi had a magnetic imaging angiogram Tuesday, and the preliminary diagnosis was right biceps and elbow pain.
“Before we officially announce something, we want to get the most accurate diagnosis available to us,” Tomczyk said. “That will not be established until the second opinion is had early next week.
“What’s most important is Nick has a really good head on his shoulders. He has a lot of support from his teammates, from the Pirates organization.
“He’s optimistic. He’s been through a lot. Fortunately or unfortunately, he knows of the rigors of a potential long-term rehab, which we don’t know yet (will be necessary).
“He is very emotionally and psychologically equipped to deal with whatever he’s going to be faced with.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .