Purke relishes long-awaited big league debut

Purke relishes long-awaited big league debut

CHICAGO -- The ideal situation for Matt Purke would have been to make his eagerly anticipated Major League debut as part of a White Sox victory.

But even in a 4-1 loss to the Royals on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, the 25-year-old southpaw was excited to get a chance. Purke pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, including his first career strikeout and first career out recorded against Alex Gordon in the eighth.

"Yeah, it was awesome," said Purke, who kept the baseball from that strikeout. "It was definitely my dream to play in the big leagues, and to finally get out there and be able to do that was great. But tough game for the boys."

Purke joined the White Sox from Triple-A Charlotte on May 13 at Yankee Stadium. He had a large contingent of family members in the stands for that series, but only his mom, dad and wife made it one week later for his debut.

"Everybody else, they had some other things to take care of," said a smiling Purke. "I know they were watching and enjoying it. Just special for all of us. 

"Just ready to go. Definitely exciting, but I was trying to go in and do my job and help this team any way I can. It was awesome. Great to do it and great to get to play for this organization and everything like that. It's fantastic."

Royals showing aggressiveness

White Sox manager Robin Ventura has seen a slight change in the Royals' approach over the past couple of years.

"They are very aggressive," Ventura said. "You look at [leadoff man Alcides] Escobar, you know he's probably swinging at the first pitch of the game. They've kind of changed over the last couple years from being a patient team, looking at walks and everything, to being very aggressive.

"They're also aggressive in that they go the other way. It's not just a pull-happy team trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark. They put it into play and they put it into play hard."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.