PEORIA, Ariz. -- Of all the trades that Padres general manager Josh Byrnes made this winter -- and there were seven of them -- the one that saw the team acquire pitcher Cory Burns from the Indians probably didn't move the needle much in terms of rousing the team's fan base.
That might change if those same fans ever get a chance to watch Burns pitch -- not entirely because of the results he's gotten in the Minor Leagues but for his unique, funky delivery that features a full torso turn and three-quarter delivery.
Think Luis Tiant or even Hideo Nomo.
Burns, who was obtained from the Indians for outfielder Aaron Cunningham, has a 2.02 ERA over 130 Minor League games in the Indians system with 108 hits allowed in 147 innings with 188 strikeouts.
Burns, 24, has enjoyed this success with a delivery he implemented after his freshman season at the University of Arizona in 2006 when he went 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in 13 games.
"My freshman year, I was terrible. I had terrible numbers, walked a bunch of people, still threw hard but I had no command," Burns said. "[Head coach Andy] Lopez told me we had to do something different for me to be able to stay there."
That "something" involved radically altering Burns' delivery.
"He dropped me down," Burns said of having a lowered arm angle. "So my sophomore year I was submarine. I got people out and wasn't comfortable with it. After that, my arm slot kept moving up to where it is now which is what you would call low three-quarter, sidewinder, whatever you want to call it.
"We implemented a windup to add more deception, starting with the craziest thing we could think of and it ended up working. We threw in the turn and it took off from there."
Burns said the change added deception to his delivery. Whereas he once threw over the top between 93-95 mph, he was throwing 87-90 mph with deception, good sink to his fastball and better location.
"The guys that I have faced who I'm good friends with, they hate facing me. Even though I don't have the best stuff, I'm able to get outs with deception and location," Burns said.
Spring gives Padres scout chance to watch son
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chris Bourjos spent some time at the Padres' Spring Training complex Wednesday before running off for an appointment -- feeding balls through a pitching machine to his son Peter, an outfielder with the Angels.
Chris Bourjos is in his first season as a professional scout for the Padres after spending the last two years with the Orioles. His scouting territory is the National League West, the Pacific Coast League and the California League.
That territory, of course, affords him greater opportunity to see his son play. Last season, Peter Bourjos hit .271 with 22 stolen bases and an American League-best 11 triples playing center field for the Angels.
"It's hard to explain," Chris Bourjos said, sounding like a proud father. "My wife and I ... we get nervous and we're excited for him."
Bourjos, who makes his offseason home in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been able to see his son quite a bit in recent weeks. Because Angels position players haven't officially reported to camp yet, Bourjos got the chance to feed balls through a pitching machine to his son Wednesday.
"It's all I can do right now ... I can't really throw anymore," Bourjos said, laughing.
Bourjos, who played seven Minor League seasons for three organizations, hit .227 as an outfielder in 22 at-bats for the Giants in 1980.
This spring, as part of his duties, Bourjos will bounce around the Phoenix area scouting players. Because of that, he'll have the opportunity to see his son play a handful of times. All it takes on his part is some creative scheduling.
"I try to get to as many games as possible," Bourjos said. "In Spring Training, I might try to match up my teams with the Angels or there might be a night game or two I'm able to catch. And with television and the iPad, you can see a lot of games."