Coming into play on Saturday, Washington Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett had not pitched in a big-league game since August 5, 2015 due to injuries and time spent away from the game. When he returned to organized ball last season, he did so by making 20 appearances as part of Washington's Low-A affiliate. Barrett was brought back to the majors this past week and -- as the headline above suggests -- made his triumphant return to big-league action on Saturday.
Barrett threw an inning against the Atlanta Braves, facing four batters and recording a strikeout (on three pitches against Ronald Acuna Jr.) and a walk on 14 pitches. He averaged about 92 mph on his fastball, and used his heater to induce his only swing-and-miss on the night.
Predictably, Barrett was emotional afterward.
For those unaware of Barrett's story, Sam Fortier of the Washington Post wrote a lovely piece on him earlier this week. Here's a snippet about what Barrett has dealt with -- keep in mind, this was after Barrett had Tommy John surgery:
Less than a year later, in July 2016, he was throwing a simulated game in Viera, Fla., during his recovery when he broke his arm. The bone snapped in a way that people who were there, such as pitcher Ronald Peña and then-minor league pitching coordinator (and current Nationals pitching coach) Paul Menhart, never forgot. The broken humerus sounded like a "full-on gunshot" or a piece of plywood being kicked in.
You can understand, then, why Barrett broke down after making it back. Here's hoping he can continue to enjoy the fruits of the hard work and perseverance it took for him to reach this point.