Burgos says confidence is key

The Brewers’ reigning Minor League pitcher of the year does not possess the power fastball of some of his peers. Hiram Burgos said he discovered something else during his breakthrough 2012 season.

“Last year, everything was about confidence,” Burgos said. “Now, I trust all of my stuff, all of my pitches. I just have to go out there and use it the right away. I’m the kind of pitcher that I have to think on every pitch, I have to execute.”

He executed more often than not in 2012, going 10-4 with a 1.94 ERA in 28 games between Class A Brevard County, Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. He held opponents to a .210 batting average and struck out more than three times as many batters (152) as he walked (49).

But 2013 is a new year with new goals, Burgos said Monday after pitching against the Padres at Maryvale Baseball Park. He allowed one hit in the first two scoreless innings, then allowed two hits in the third inning including a long home run to second baseman Jedd Gyorko.

Next month, Burgos will represent Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, so Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made sure to assign him to the home half of split-squad games Monday. Roenicke wanted a firsthand look at Burgos before he departs on March 3.

His Classic workload hinges on right-hander Javier Vazquez, who is trying to rush back from a minor knee surgery. If Vazquez is ready, Burgos will work in relief of the veteran in Puerto Rico’s first game. If Vazquez is not ready, then Burgos is prepared to start.

“For sure, I’m throwing the first game. For sure,” Burgos said. “It’s an honor to have the name of your country on your uniform.”


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