Wingnuts Add Major League Arm
WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts signed former Major League pitcher Mike Burns on Monday.
Burns spent parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues from 2005-2009, logging 103.2 innings over 60 appearances, and averaging just 2.5 walks per nine frames. The right-hander last appeared in the big leagues in 2009, striking out 39 batters in 51.2 innings for the Milwaukee Brewers. Burns is expected to pitch out of the Wingnuts' starting rotation.
"Signing Mike Burns gives us a starting pitcher with Major League experience, which is something we have never had at the beginning of the season," said Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper. "Having faced him many times in the past, I know what he is capable of. He has a bulldog mentality and will be a huge asset for us, not only on the mound, but in the clubhouse as well. His experience will be valuable to us in numerous ways."
Burns last pitched professionally in 2011 for the North American League's Calgary Vipers where he was a teammate of Wingnuts' first baseman C.J. Ziegler. The 6-foot, 225-pound Burns posted a 3.35 ERA in 37.2 innings for Calgary, striking out 38 and walking just two.
A native of Westminster, CA, Burns was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 30th round in 2000 out of California State University, Los Angeles. Burns made his Major League debut on May 13th, 2005, working one and one-third scoreless innings as an Astros' reliever. The first batter of the appearance was San Francisco Giants' outfielder Moises Alou, whom Burns retired on a groundball. Burns' first Major League start came on June 25th, 2009 as a member of the Brewers. The veteran hurler pitched five and two-thirds innings, and struck out Minnesota Twins' catcher Joe Mauer in the top of the first. Burns also appeared in Major League contests for the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox.
During 11 seasons in the minor leagues, Burns has compiled a 72-68 record with a 3.72 ERA in 1,045.2 innings over 343 appearances, 127 of them as a starting pitcher. The 34-year-old Burns owns five years of experience at the Triple-A level, two more in Double-A, and has averaged a paltry 1.7 walks per nine innings. In three of his five seasons in Triple-A, Burns finished with an ERA of 2.62 or lower.
Burns is the second player officially signed by the Wingnuts for the 2013 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players on their roster during spring training, which begins in early-May.
2013 Wingnuts Signings
RHP Mike Burns
SS Ryan Khoury
The 2013 season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 16th against the Kansas City T-Bones at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. A pre-game ceremony honoring the life of bench coach Brian Rose will take place. For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.
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