Red Sox's Cam Booser makes long-awaited MLB debut after four years away from the game

The 31-year-old Booser recorded an inning of relief Friday against the Pirates.

Red Sox's Cam Booser makes long-awaited MLB debut after four years away from the game

Cam Booser made his MLB debut Friday night with the Boston Red Sox with an inning of relief to close out their 8-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 31-year-old Booser started the bottom of the ninth inning and allowed one hit, one earned run and recorded a strikeout on seven pitches.

“It was a pretty surreal moment,” Booser told reporters afterward. “I tried not to look up and tried to stay in the moment. Afterward, I tried to take it all in. It’s by far the best moment of my career. It’s something I’ll always remember.”

It was a long road to get to The Show for Booser, who had never reached the major leagues since turning pro in 2013.

From 2017-2021, Booser was out of professional baseball. Believing his playing days were over, he moved home to Seattle and became a carpenter.

Prior to leaving the game, Booser dealt with a variety of obstacles, including Tommy John surgery in college at Oregon State. He went undrafted, but managed to sign with the Minnesota Twins organization in 2013. Two years into his pro career, he had surgery for a torn labrum in 2015 while with the Twins organization. Months later, Booser was hit by a car while riding his bike, breaking a bone at the base of his back. He was also suspended for 50 games after testing positive for marijuana.

The Twins tried converting him into an outfielder but when that didn't work out, Booser left baseball. Four years away from the game apparently revitalized his arm, which he realized while coaching kids. With his arm feeling good, Booser started throwing again, and his fastball was clocked at 97 mph. That convinced him to get back on the mound and he signed with an independent club in Chicago.

That led to the Arizona Diamondbacks signing Booser to a minor league contract in 2022. The following season, he signed with the Red Sox organization and appeared in 48 games with Worcester. In 57 2/3 innings, Booser struck out 66 batters.

So far this year, Booser has notched 15 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings while averaging 97 mph with his fastball and hitting 99, according to the Boston Globe. That earned him a long-awaited call-up to the majors.

Following the final out, Booser took a moment to himself in the dugout to absorb the moment and remember how he got there.

“You read the story and you know the story,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I was hoping that he would get into the game tonight to get that over with. Now, we can use him when we’re supposed to use him. It’s a special day for everybody. We’re very proud of him. There’s a few cool stories in that clubhouse.”