Burroughs Completes Improbable Comeback
Sean Burroughs (Getty Images)

Posted May 24, 2011


When Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers signed Sean Burroughs to a minor league contract this winter, people assumed it was just a token gesture towards one of his former players during his San Diego days. Burroughs has astonished everyone by earning a spot on the major league roster.

Five years and 14 days after his last day in a major league uniform, a game with Tampa Bay in which he was announced as the pinch-hitter but then replaced before he actually get to the plate, Sean Burroughs is back in the major leagues. He joined the Diamondbacks, thanks largely to the man who first believed in him -- former Padres GM and current Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers.

About 1,800 days removed from the major leagues and two months into a comeback after a nearly four-year hiatus, the former 1998 first-round pick arrived in Arizona with a .386 batting average in 27 games at Triple-A Reno.

"That's pretty remarkable after three, four years off," Towers said of Burroughs' effort. "To not see live pitching for that long and to come back like he has, that shows how gifted he is."

The son of former major league slugger Jeff Burroughs, Sean Burroughs was a rock star at an early age. He played on the Long Beach, California team that won consecutive Little League World Series in 1992-93.

Towers' first pick for San Diego in the 1998 draft (#9 overall), Burroughs had a walk-off single in the first game played at Petco Park, but his career stalled after two full seasons of hitting .286 and .298. Reacting to critics who said he needed to hit for more power, Burroughs tried to hit home runs. It was not him.

"He took a bigger swing," said D-backs utility man Geoff Blum, his former San Diego teammate. "He was striking out more, not putting the ball in play as often and not working counts. That's not him at all. From the sound of it, and talking to him, it sounds like he's back to the same old Sean, and that's good news."

Burroughs semi-retired after playing four games at Triple-A Tacoma in 2007, a career .280 hitter in the major leagues. He later moved to Las Vegas with a former girlfriend, and "Old Sin City took over," he said. "If you don't have a steady job or you don't have any goals, dreams or aspirations. In that city ... idle time on your hands is not good time."

SNAKE BYTES

--INF Melvin Mora was reinstated from the bereavement list. To make room on the roster, the team designated infielder Josh Wilson for assignment. Mora was placed on the bereavement list on May 18 and missed five games. The 39-year-old is hitting .262 with 11 RBI in 28 games.  The fact that Wilson and not Burroughs was sent down indicates that Burroughs may be on the 25-man roster to stay.

--C Henry Blanco had two home runs in a rare start on May 16 against the Padres and made the most of another opportunity with two hits against the Twins on Sunday. He is hitting .500 (8-for-16) over his last five games.

--INF Willie Bloomquist picked right up where he left off after missing 21 games because of a hamstring injury. He had two hits in four trips on Sunday and has hit safely in 13 of his 15 games this season with 21 hits in 68 at-bats (.309).

--INF Stephen Drew was given Sunday off to give him two days to rest before Tuesday's doubleheader in Colorado. Drew went 1-for-5 in Saturday's 9-6 win over the Twins and had some unproductive at-bats that led to manager Kirk Gibson's decision to start Willie Bloomquist at shortstop and give Drew a chance to relax. "He's been grinding," Gibson said. "He's probably going through a period where he's not swinging the bat as good as he was early in the year, but playing shortstop every day and (hitting fourth) every day, those are pretty important roles on the team."

--RHP Daniel Hudson isn't just pitching well (5-1, 2.59 ERA in his last six starts), he's helping himself with the bat as well. Hudson has had at least one hit in six of his 10 starts this season, including an RBI single in the fourth inning Sunday that gave Arizona an early 2-0 lead. Hudson's RBI was his 11th with the Diamondbacks, which places him fifth all-time among Diamondback pitchers.

DIAMOND STAT: 5 -- Home runs Francisco Liriano has allowed to left-handed hitters in his career after Juan Miranda hit one off the Minnesota ace on Sunday. It was the first homer Liriano had allowed to a lefty since Ken Griffey Jr. hit one off him more than two years ago (April 9, 2009).

QUOTABLE: "Somebody new every night, it seems like, is making the big pitch or getting a big hit or making a big play. A great homestand is a good way to bounce back after a not so great road trip, so hopefully we can carry this one back out on the road." -- Arizona outfielder Willie Bloomquist after the Diamondbacks completed a 6-1 homestand with a 3-2 win over the Twins on Sunday.


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C Henry Blanco (profile)
UT Willie Bloomquist (profile)
3B Sean Burroughs (profile)
SS Stephen Drew (profile)
SP Daniel Hudson (profile)
1B Juan Miranda (profile)
3B Melvin Mora (profile)
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