History is filled with players who grew up as Phillies fans and wound up signing with the team. Many of them never saw their dream of actually playing for the Phillies become a reality, but Greg Burke is hoping to buck that trend after inking a minor league deal with the club. The 6' 4" Burke, who has pitched in the majors with San Diego (2009) and the New York Mets (2013), spent last season in the Blue Jays organization, going 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A.
Burke, 33, starred at Gloucester Catholic High School, and has spent much of his offseason time rehabbing from surgeries, but is healthy and looking forward to being able to properly prepare for spring training during the offseason. In the two previous winters, he was coming off rotator cuff surgery and hip surgery that forced him to focus on rehab rather than his usual training regimen.
"I finally feel good in the offseason and can get some good work in preparing for spring training," Burke told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Burke went undrafted out of Duke University, but signed with San Diego as an amateur free agent in 2006 and reached the majors three seasons later, going 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA in 48 relief appearances with the Padres. Burke would later sign with the New York Mets as a minor league free agent and pitch in 32 games for the New Yorkers in 2013, with an 0-3 record and 5.68 ERA. He has pitched in the minors for Baltimore and Colorado in addition to pitching in the Toronto organization last season.
Burke told the Inquirer that he pitched well against the Phillies minor league teams, which he believes helped him draw the attention of Phillies scouts. In three appearances against Double-A Reading last season, Burke allowed one earned run in five innings of work, with two walks and seven strikeouts. Against Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he earned a win in his first outing for Buffalo, pitching 4 2/3 shutout innings, giving up one walk, while striking out six. The combined result was a 1-0 record with three hits allowed, one earned run, three walks and 13 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings, resulting in a 0.93 ERA.
The submarine style right-hander also received an invitation to spring training as part of his minor league deal.