Aug 16, 2010, 11:47 AM EDT
Eight years and four teams after being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, Bryan Bullington finally picked up his first major-league victory yesterday and did it in a big way, tossing eight shutout, two-hit innings against the Yankees in a 1-0 win.
Bullington never really seemed capable of living up to the promise of a No. 1 pick after the Pirates selected him over the likes of top-10 picks B.J. Upton, Prince Fielder, and Zack Greinke, and then Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career in 2006.
Since then he’s logged over 400 innings at Triple-A and spent brief stints in the majors with the Pirates, Indians, Blue Jays, and now Royals in between trips to the waiver wire. Bullington described his post-surgery journey as “kind of plodding along” and noted he’s “been down the last couple of years.”
Now he’s got a victory under his belt and, at age 29, has a chance to stick around for a while with the Royals. “I’m to the point where I don’t want to kick it around in Triple-A for another four or five years,” Bullington said after beating the Yankees. “I know if I’m going to do this, I want to do it now and I want to get in a situation where I can pitch and hopefully fit in.”
Or as manager Ned Yost put it: “Sometimes you find a late bloomer.”
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