Giants pay tribute to retired outfielder Burrell
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
Retired outfielder Pat Burrell got one more moment in the spotlight at AT&T Park after he became a key member of San Francisco's improbable World Series run two years ago.
The former Giants and Philadelphia Phillies star threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate and pal Aubrey Huff to a warm ovation before the middle game of the teams' series Tuesday night.
Now doing some scouting work for San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean, the 35-year-old Burrell retired after last season because of a troublesome right foot that never fully healed, and he is also currently rehabilitating his left shoulder in Arizona after undergoing offseason surgery.
''Now working for the team, everything has kind of come together the right way,'' Burrell said. ''It's been fun.''
Burrell appreciated the gesture from Giants president and CEO Larry Baer to pay tribute to the former left fielder, who became a key part of the team's 2010 band of ''castoffs and misfits'' that brought the franchise its first championship since moving West in 1958.
Next month, Burrell will sign a one-day minor league contract and retire with the Phillies, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft. He will sign during an interleague series with the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park and will be honored May 19 and throw out the first pitch. Burrell also won a ring with Philly in 2008.
The Phillies reached out to him last fall.
''Of course, I said `I'd love to''' Burrell said, sitting in the San Francisco dugout Tuesday afternoon and wearing his Giants' World Series ring. ''I watched (Mike) Lieberthal, Doug Glanville. It's a special deal. The more fortunate thing is they even asked me to do it.''
Burrell joined the Giants on a minor league deal on May 29, 2010, after being cut by the Tampa Bay Rays and spent a short stint with Triple-A Fresno before being called up on June 4.
''We all think a lot of Pat, he's very popular with his teammates,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''It's good to have him here to throw out the first pitch. He works for us, too. He's a guy I talk to to get a different perspective from somebody who's behind home plate watching our hitters. He has been some help already.''
He batted .266 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs in 96 games for San Francisco, becoming the everyday left fielder.
The Giants went on to clinch the NL West title on the final day of the regular season, ending a six-year postseason drought before making their World Series run.
''I have some great memories, obviously, firstly with the situation I was coming from being released and getting a second chance,'' Burrell said. ''Having the kind of year we had as a team to go out and win the World Series, it's something I'll never forget.''
He is a career .253 hitter with 292 home runs and 976 RBIs in 1,640 games over 12 seasons with Philadelphia, the Rays and San Francisco. He grew up in the Bay Area in San Jose.
Burrell - who re-signed for $1 million to stay with the Giants in 2011 - was placed on the disabled list last July 15 with a mid-right foot strain and didn't play again until Aug. 31, though he was still in pain after missing 43 games.
''When I couldn't play in interleague, I kind of knew then I probably wouldn't get to play after that season,'' Burrell said. ''So I had three months or so to kind of prepare for it. The part about spring training, I was there for all the games. I just knew I couldn't do it. "
He played nine seasons with the Phillies and is fourth in team history in home runs (251), eighth in RBIs (827), and ninth in extra-base hits (518).