Judging from his first outing with the White Sox, it didn’t appear David Purcey would be around the major leagues for long.
Not after a performance that included three walks and one run allowed in one inning against Tampa Bay on July 5.
But Purcey’s story didn’t include a demotion back to Triple-A Charlotte, where he spent the first part of the season after signing a minor-league deal in the offseason.
Instead, Purcey has turned into a reliable, left-handed option out of the bullpen. His 1.14 earned-run average through 23 appearances is testament to that.
“I feel like I’m throwing the ball well,” Purcey said. “I’m throwing the ball over the plate and I’m making hitters hit it and put it in play. I try to do what I can to help the team.”
On Friday, he pitched a season-high 2 2/3 innings and matched a career high with three strikeouts. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past 10 appearances, and has a 0.44 ERA in his past 19 outings.
“Since that (first outing), he’s really picked himself up,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “That’s part of being up here and being able to make it and putting that stuff behind you. He’s throwing strikes and attacking the zone and it doesn’t matter if it’s lefty or righty. He’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Purcey is a bit of a feel-good story in a season seriously in need of one on the South Side. At 31 years old, he’s getting another shot at making it in the big leagues after an inconsistent career that has come since Toronto made him the 16th pick overall in the 2004 draft.
And he’s something of a local, to boot. Purcey was born in St. Charles and lived there until he was 7, when his father’s job transferred the family to Dallas.
“Getting to play here is really fun for me, personally,” Purcey said. It’s been a great time so far. It’s really fun to be in Chicago and playing here and just enjoying the city.”
He’s also enjoying the opportunity he’s been given, even though it is tempered by the Sox’s struggles. Being in last place and headed for a 90-loss season doesn’t make anybody feel good.
For Purcey, it’s a matter of focusing on what he can control.
“I just take every outing as a chance to go after hitters, be aggressive and make them put the ball in play,” he said. “That’s my whole mindset, just trusting my god-given ability to go out there and to pitch.”