After stint with Cubs, Mundelein’s Borucki found home with Pirates


PITTSBURGH — The Pirates have a Chicago corner in their clubhouse at PNC Park. Occupying three neighboring lockers are Mundelein High School grad Ryan Borucki, Chicago Taft product Jack Suwinski and ex-Cub Alfonso Rivas.

Borucki spent three days on the Cubs roster earlier this season. He was called up from Iowa on April 30, but before he could get into a game, Yan Gomes suffered a concussion in Washington and the Cubs used Borucki’s roster spot to call up Miguel Amaya.

At that point, the left-hander chose to become a free agent, signed with the Pirates and appeared in his 24th game with Pittsburgh on Saturday.

“I just didn’t really see a future really over there anymore,” Borucki said Sunday. “They were honest with me, with my stuff. I believed I was a big-league pitcher and I didn’t feel like siting in Triple A for that much longer. So just decided to opt out and then this opportunity presented itself and it’s worked out so far.”

Borucki signed out of high school with Toronto in 2012 and was a starter when he made his major-league debut in 2018. Shifting to the bullpen, which began in 2020, has been a bumpy road.

“When I got here, we made some really good mechanical adjustments that really kind of cleaned everything up and then I’ve just been in the zone a lot more,” Borucki said. “As a starter, I didn’t walk guys, then the minute I got to the bullpen, I just really started walking a lot of guys. That’s how I get in trouble.

“When I got to Pittsburgh, finally made a couple adjustments and everything started clicking and I’m back to just being me again, filling the zone up with all my pitches and trying to get weak contact.”



Speaking of Chicago ties, Borucki’s manager, Derek Shelton, also played in the North Suburban Conference at Warren. When Borucki first joined the Pirates in June, they were playing in Milwaukee. Warming up in the outfield before the game, he looked up and saw his high school coach Todd Parola working as an usher at American Family Field.

“I knew he ushered there, but what are the chances the one day I make my debut with Pittsburgh, he’s working that day and basically right next to the visiting bullpen?” Borucki said.

Veteran wisdom:

Injured Cubs reliever Michael Fulmer reflected on his own major-league debut, which came in 2016 with a Detroit Tigers team that missed the wild card by 2½ games.

“I was so giddy, young and inexperienced my rookie year that I had no idea what a playoff race was,” Fulmer said. “That’s kind of been my message to a lot of these guys is next year is not always guaranteed. This is a playoff chase we’re in now, and this might be the only one you get in your career. So we’ve got to try to do our best to make it to the playoffs.”



Wicked history:

According to OptaStats, Jordan Wicks was the first MLB starting pitcher to allow the first three batters to reach base, then not allow another baserunner and get the win since Boston’s Luis Tiant on Sept. 28, 1974. … Wicks was the first Cubs pitcher to record a win in his major-league debut since Ryan O’Malley in 2006 at Houston. …

Ian Happ started Sunday’s game 0-for-3, then drew a walk in the seventh inning to stretch his on-base streak against the Pirates to 56 games. It’s an record for a Pirates opponent. Happ, a Pittsburgh native, moved past Stan Musial into first place on Saturday.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports



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