View Full Version : Any chance of getting this guy in our bullpen soon?

04-10-2005, 06:49 PM
I know he is still raw, but our bullpen right now makes me nervous.


Burgos dazzles in Double-A debut
Reliever strikes out four, picks up win in relief
By Matt LaWell / Special to MLB.com

WICHITA, Kan. -- Ambiorix Burgos made his first appearance at Double-A Wichita on Friday night and it might not be too much longer before he pitches at Kauffman Stadium.

Burgos, the highly touted 20-year-old former starter who pitched in Major League camp during Spring Training, came on in the top of the eighth inning of Wichita's 8-7 win over the Tulsa Drillers and pitched two shutout innings for the win.

That wasn't what dropped every jaw in Lawrence Dumont Stadium, though.

During the brief outing -- his first as Wichita's closer -- Burgos struck out four of the seven batters he faced, including Drillers designated hitter Ryan Spilborghs, who whiffed on a 3-2 split-finger to end the ninth inning.

"He has a lot of arm speed, he had good action out there tonight and he's got a good split-finger," Wichita pitching coach Larry Carter said. "He's got a split-finger from hell."

Burgos, who struck out 172 batters in 133 2/3 innings last season at Class A Burlington, wasted no time in recording his first strikeout of the 2005 season. He set down the first batter he faced, Tulsa left fielder Tony Miller, on three pitches. Then he struck out Jeff Salazar on three more.

"He was throwing nails the first inning," Wichita manager Frank White said.

Burgos got Jayson Nix to ground out to second base to end the inning, after which Burgos walked off the field to a raucous ovation.

He opened the ninth inning by striking out Sean Barker on three pitches before running into a brief problem with his control. Burgos walked Corey Slavik on four pitches and started out 2-0 on the next batter, Javier Cardona. At that point, Wranglers catcher Matt Tupman went to the mound to settle down Burgos. What did Tupman say to the young fireballer?

"I didn't say anything," Tupman said. "In that situation, my job isn't to say anything. I just went out there to give him a breather and get him back on track."

And that's exactly what happened. Two pitches later, Cardona flied out to left field. Then, Spilborghs struck out on that 3-2 splitter that still has folks buzzing.

"It moved," Tupman said. "It moved a lot.

"His splitter does move a lot and that's a pitch I usually try to stay away from until there are two strikes. But they really can't hit him. He throws 98 (miles per hour) and I've heard he's hit 100 before."

On Friday night, Burgos was clocked between 92 and 97, Carter said. His average pitch speed was 94 mph.

That kind of stuff is perfect for Burgos' new role as a closer. He spent four years as a starter with Salcedo, Arizona and Burlington with mixed results: a 12-28 record -- including 7-11 last season -- and a 4.66 ERA. But he struck out 290 batters in 276 1/3 innings of work.

Burgos couldn't be happier about his new job.

"I used to be a starting pitcher," Burgos said through clubhouse interpreter Nelson Liriano. "I used to throw 100, 115 pitches, or more. Now I just throw 20 or 25. I like that.

"Frank White told me I would be the closer ... and if I'm given the opportunity, I'll take it. I'm trying to be the best I can be and take the next step."

Burgos' power pitching demeanor is ideal, as is his approach to throwing fastballs, Carter said.

"Burgos isn't afraid to throw hard," he said. "And you don't see a lot of 20-year-olds with arms like that. You don't see a lot of arms like that, period. A lot of guys like to throw breaking stuff and throw soft. He's just got a good arm."

His arm could soon be pitching at Triple-A Omaha or for the Royals sometime this season. But for now, White is just happy that Burgos is a Wrangler.

"It's nice to have him," White said. "It's nice to have anyone who has stuff like that, be it a starter or a closer.

"But if he keeps throwing like that, we might not have him long."

Matt LaWell is a contributing writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

04-13-2005, 08:17 AM
I think he might be there real soon, if the way our pen isn't doing very good.