Greg Burke is thrilled to sign with the Phillies, his "hometown team." He's even happier to be healthy in the offseason for the first time in a few years.
"That's the big thing for me," said Burke, a former Gloucester Catholic star who signed with the Phillies on Monday. "I finally feel good in the offseason and can get some good work in preparing for spring training."
Burke, a 33-year-old righthanded 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 771/3 innings. Burke has undergone surgery to repair his rotator cuff and his hip in two of the last three off-seasons.
Burke, who lives in Medford, Burlington County, with his wife and two children, said proximity is a huge factor for him.
He grew up in Bellmawr Camden County, and was a Phillies fan as a youngster. At Gloucester Catholic, he was an ace pitcher for a team that went 33-1 in his senior season in 2000 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."