MISSOULA — Missoula native Codi Heuer make a quick rise through the minor leagues and didn’t have to wait long to make his Major League Baseball debut, putting together an impressive relief outing Friday in Chicago on Opening Day.
The 24-year-old former Great Falls Voyager pitcher — who was drafted in 2018, threw just 105.2 innings in the minors and jumped straight to the majors from the AA level — tossed a perfect ninth inning in a 10-5 loss for the Chicago White Sox against the Minnesota Twins.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Heuer was the first White Sox pitcher to make his MLB debut on Opening Day since 2000 and the team’s first right-handed pitcher to do that since 1995.
He needed just 16 pitches, 10 of which were strikes, to retire all three batters, who were a combined 3 for 9 with four RBIs on the day before facing him. His two-seam fastball hit as high as 98.4 miles per hour, and 11 of his 14 fastballs were clocked at 97 MPH or higher. Two of his three fastballs below that — one at 89.4 and one at 89.8 MPH — led to a pair of softly hit outs.
Heuer started his MLB debut by getting No. 5 hitter Eddie Rosario to fly out to center field on the fourth pitch of the at-bat.
He followed with his first career strikeout, sending down No. 6 batter Mitch Garver with a late-breaking slider on the seventh pitch of the at-bat. It was one of just two sliders he threw.
Heuer made it a 1-2-3 frame when he got No. 7 hitter Jake Cave to hit into a 4-3 groundout on the fifth pitch of the at-bat.
Heuer was Chicago’s eighth pitcher used in the game. MLB teams are allowed to have a 30-player roster for the first two weeks of the season, 28 for the next two weeks and then back to the regular 26 starting the fifth week. The White Sox opened the season with 16 pitchers on their roster, and if Heuer can string together more performances like Friday, he'll be on his way to making his case to remain in the majors.
Heuer, who moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, for high school and played three seasons at Wichita State, was drafted in the sixth round by Chicago in 2018. He spent his first season with the Great Falls Voyagers and split his 2019 season between Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem and Class AA Birmingham.
Heuer was invited to Chicago's 2020 spring training camp, landed on the 44-man roster for the 2020 summer camp last month and was named to the team's Opening Day roster on Thursday.
Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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