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Baseball: Former Gloucester Catholic ace Greg Burke signs with Phillies

By Phil Anastasia

Inquirer Staff Writer

Greg Burke is thrilled to sign with the Phillies, his "hometown team."

He's even happier to be healthy in the off-season for the first time in a few years.

"That's the big thing for me," said Burke, a former Gloucester Catholic star pitcher who signed with the Phillies on Monday. "I finally feel good in the off-season and can get some good work in preparing for spring training."

Burke's contract is a minor-league deal, with an invitation to the big league training camp.

Burke, a 33-year-old right-handed reliever, has fashioned a long professional career since graduating from Duke University in 2005.

The 6-foot-4 Burke pitched last season in the Toronto Blue Jays' organization, compiling a combined 5-1 record with a 2.63 ERA between double A and triple A.

"I pitched well against the Phillies (teams)," Burke said. "I think that helped."

Burke, who has adapted a submarine-style motion, has pitched in the majors with San Diego in 2009 and the New York Mets in 2013.

In his major-league career, Burke has a 3-6 record with a 4.77 ERA with 61 strikeouts and 38 walks in 77.1 innings.

Burke has undergone surgery to repair his rotator cuff and his hip in two of the last three off-seasons.

He said he feels "great" and is excited about the opportunity to compete for a job with the Phillies' organization.

Burke, who lives in Medford with his wife and two children, said "proximity" is a huge factor for him.

Burke grew up in Bellmawr and "definitely" was a Phillies' fan as a youngster.

At Gloucester Catholic, he was an ace pitcher for a team that in his senior season in 2000 went 33-1 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation by Baseball America.

"Most of my career has been spent out West," Burke said. "To be able to come home, that's huge."

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