Sean Burroughs returns to majors with Diamondbacks

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Completing a comeback already far more successful than anyone would have anticipated, Sean Burroughs was called up by the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, putting him back in the majors for the first time in five years.

Burroughs, the former Little League World Series hero turned top prospect in the Padres system, showed next to nothing with the bat in a brief look with the Diamondbacks this spring, but he hit .386/.434/.571 in 27 games for Triple-A Reno after taking the field in mid-April.  He was batting .426 with eight extra-base hits in 14 games this month.

Burroughs, a first-round pick in 1998, reached the majors in 2002 at age 21 and was a very solid regular in his first full season with San Diego, hitting .286/.352/.402 in 518 at-bats in 2003. 

Unfortunately, that proved to be his high point.  While he hit .298 in 2004, he had only 27 extra-base hits and 31 walks in 523 at-bats, leaving him with a subpar .713 OPS.  He battled injuries throughout that year and in 2005, when he hit just .250/.318/.299 and spent a month in the minors.   The Padres gave up on him after the season, trading him to the Rays for another famous bust, Dewon Brazelton.

Burroughs went on to play in just eight games for Tampa Bay in 2006, going 4-for-21.  He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners the next winter, hurt his shoulder prior to the start of spring training, got released in June and then fell completely off the map for 3 1/2 years.

Now he’s back, though it remains to be seen if it will last.  Burroughs was never a great defender at third, and he’s pretty much a singles hitter at the plate.  Since he’s not a legitimate utilityman, he could have a difficult time sticking.  Still, he’s always been able to put the bat on the ball.  It wouldn’t be the most shocking thing if he ends up having a second career as a pinch-hitter.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.