LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Among the players trying to make an impression in the rebuilding Braves’ camp is Rocky Point righthander Danny Burawa, who is hoping to win a bullpen spot after finishing last season in Atlanta.
The 27-year-old righthander made his major-league debut with the Yankees last Father’s Day. For Burawa and his family, it was unforgettable.
It also was the only time he pitched for the Yankees, as Burawa — who was called up late the night before — allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning to the Tigers and immediately was shipped back to Triple-A after the game.
“Now that I’ve had a couple of months to reflect, it still stinks,” Burawa said earlier this week. “The Yankees put five years into me and I wanted to prove them right. Every day I got to the field, I wanted to show them when they drafted me that they made a smart decision. But just great to pitch even one game with that team. It was just an awesome experience, an awesome opportunity. I didn’t make the most of it and they brought me here. Now I’m just trying to make the most of the opportunity here.”
Burawa was waived by the Yankees in August and claimed by the Braves. In 12 September appearances, he pitched to a 3.65 ERA and struck out 10 in 12 1⁄3 innings. His career ERA went from 54.00 after his Yankees appearance to a more palatable 6.23.
The Braves need arms, and Burawa throws hard. He’s also taking the opportunity to learn from some of the veterans on the team, including former Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur.
“Last year, I faced him at the end of the season,” Francoeur said. “When I saw him in the outfield, he comes walking up to me. He said, ‘Hey, I’ve got to ask you a question. It’s been bothering me all offseason. Last year I faced you, I threw you two sliders and I had you 0-2 and then I threw a third one and you smoked it. Almost took my head off for a hit. Do you think that was the right pitch to throw?’
“I just said, ‘Well, obviously not.’ It was fun. We talked. He throws 94, 95 and he’s got a good sinker. I think with him, it’s learning how to pitch, trusting yourself. He’s got some good stuff. There’s no doubt he’s going to have a good career.”
Escape from NY
Danny Burawa’s 2015 numbers with the Yankees and Braves: