You couldn’t blame Liberty High School graduate Scott Carroll for having a sense of dread because his major-league debut Sunday for the White Sox would come against Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price.
Then again, after what the 29-year-old Carroll has been through in his career, maybe it was fitting that he’d be going against a former Cy Young Award winner.
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“As soon as I found out I was going against Price, I thought to myself, ‘What an opportunity,’ ” Carroll told reporters after he got the win in Chicago’s 9-2 victory. “There’s no better chance to showcase my skills and get to go against one of the best guys, a Cy Young winner. I just happened to be better than him today.
“It’s a fun experience, and I’m just so happy to do it.”
Fun experiences had been few and far between for Carroll since he was picked in the third round of the 2007 draft by the Reds out out of Missouri State.
Slowed by hip surgery in 2009, Carroll eventually worked his way to Class AAA by 2011. However, the following year he was released by the Reds in June. The White Sox signed him the following month and he had a 3.78 ERA in nine games (eight starts).
But while playing winter ball in Venezuela that offseason, he injured his arm and had Tommy John surgery.
“It has always been in my DNA to continue to compete, and I wasn’t going to give up,” he said Sunday. “Coming off Tommy John surgery, I contemplated (quitting). But I knew what I was capable of doing here, and I worked hard and deserve to be up here.”
Carroll pitched briefly last year at Rookie Advanced and Class AA, then got off to a hot start this season at Class AAA Charlotte with a 1.57 ERA in four starts.
On Sunday, Carroll stepped in for the injured Chris Sale and allowed two runs (one earned) in 7 1/3 innings.
Carroll got a standing ovation from the crowd at U.S. Cellular Field, and the TV cameras caught his mom weeping in the stands.
“I had to hold back some tears and fight through that because it’s been a long road for my family and (me),” he said. “For me to finally achieve my dream, my mom she’s an angel, and she’s put in a lot of hard work taking care of me through two surgeries. It was pretty awesome.”
Carroll’s long path to the majors only made it that much sweeter. He planned to celebrate with the 36 friends and family members who were at Sunday’s game.
Earlier this month, Carroll tweeted: “So much of what we do in life is focused on the #destination, as opposed to enjoying the #process. The process is a beautiful thing!”
On Sunday, the destination was pretty sweet, too.