He got knocked around a bit on Wednesday, but Suárez has earned the respect and admiration of his teammates. Bryce Harper recently said he loves Suárez’s demeanor, while fellow pitcher Archie Bradley called him a “savior” for the versatility he’s displayed, pitching in various situations throughout the year.
Suárez isn’t one of the biggest names on the roster, but he’s been one of the biggest keys to the Phillies’ success this season.
Here are five things you probably didn’t know about him:
1. He hadn’t started a game since 2018
Suàrez was scouted by various MLB teams as a teenager, and ultimately signed with the Phillies for $25,000. After three years at their academy in Venezuela, he moved to their farm system in 2016.
When Suárez made his debut on July 26, 2018, he was a starting pitcher. He gave up four earned runs in each of his first two starts, before making a scoreless bullpen appearance for his third career game.
After one more start in 2018, he became a member of the Phillies bullpen and stayed there until the beginning of August this year. This time around, his first two starts were both scoreless.
2. His family back home in Venezuela watches all his games
Due to visa issues, Suárez has been separated from his family and friends in Venezuela for a long time. But according to Phillies employee Diego Ettedgui, who aids the Phillies’ Spanish-speaking players, Suárez’s family watches all of his games and sends him videos of them reacting to his pitching:
"“He’s shown me some of the videos of them watching games. Whenever he strikes out someone or makes a big pitch, everybody goes crazy. They are very proud of him.”"
3. He played numerous sports growing up
Growing up, baseball was only one of several sports Suárez played. He also loved basketball, volleyball, and soccer. And before transitioning to pitching as a teenager, Suárez was an outfielder.
According to Suárez, his first time pitching was an accident. His team found themselves without a pitcher, so he stepped up and pitched a complete game:
"“I threw nine innings. I didn’t care if I played center field or pitched. I just wanted to play.”"
4. He missed the birth of his second child
As the pandemic restricted travel around the world in summer 2020, Suárez’s longtime girlfriend was preparing to give birth to their second child. Suárez had contracted COVID-19 in July 2020 and spent a month alone in a hotel room in Clearwater, Florida. He missed the birth of his son, and wasn’t able to rejoin the Phillies until the last day of August.
5. He loves Chipotle
When the pandemic first enveloped the United States and MLB’s spring training was put on hold in March 2020, Suárez decided to ride it out in Florida, rather than return to his home in Venezuela. After all, the original shutdown was supposed to be for two weeks.
Suárez ultimately became one of the first of many Phillies players to test positive for coronavirus. Phillies officials would leave test kits outside the hotel room where he was trapped for a month.
According to Suárez, the only good thing about the experience was that he was able to order his favorite food delivered to the room:
"“I had Chipotle every day,” he said, laughing. “I love Chipotle. Love Chipotle.”"