When a tearful Kyle Zimmer called his father, Eric, to tell him he had made the Royals’ 25-man roster after nearly seven years of cruel twists had sabotaged his once-promising baseball career, Eric Zimmer was so moved that he couldn’t speak for 15 minutes.

Read the full article in the Kansas City Star

“This was a long journey, a long journey. It’s a story about perseverance and his resolve,” Eric Zimmer said, later adding, “He had to crawl over maybe a little more broken glass than some.”

Kyle Zimmer’s pitching career began with great promise. The Kansas City Royals used the 5th overall pick in the draft to select Kyle in 2012. Unfortunately, Kyle was beset by a number of upper extremity ailments. He was forced to undergo multiple surgeries, including surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016.

So we can imagine his emotional fullness when he pitched his first major league inning for the Royals this Sunday. Kyle celebrated by hitting the mid-90s with his fastball, striking out two White Sox hitters, and pitching one shutout inning.

Kyle’s injuries included elbow surgery in 2012, biceps tendinitis in 2013, shoulder in 2014. shoulder soreness in 2015, 2017, and 2018, and thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in 2016. Given all this, it’s little surprise that Kyle did not throw a major league regular season pitch for 7 seasons. Until Sunday, when he finally demonstrated some of that great promise.

If you’d like to see video of Kyle’s first two major league strikeouts, swing over here.

So as Kyle walked off the field with a feeling he later said was like “floating” and a smile stuck on his face for easily the next hour and immersed in the moment, Eric Zimmer and other family members couldn’t help but reflect on the way here.

Somehow, the answer always came back to this: “I’m not going to give up,” he said a few weeks ago in surprise, “until someone takes my jersey away.”

We know it’s tough for elite athletes to come back from thoracic outlet syndrome and the surgery for it. But it’s certainly easy to root for this young man with the perseverance and his great attitude.

Kyle, we’re pulling for you!

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