Jan. 30, 2012
By Derrick Fazendin-
As the 2012 Arizona baseball campaign draws closer, former Wildcats have been using the new facilities at Hi Corbett Field to get ready for their own seasons. ArizonaWildcats.com caught up with former UA relief pitcher Cory Burns who is now a part of the San Diego Padres organization after originally being drafted in the eighth round by the Cleveland Indians back in the 2009 MLB Draft.
Burns had a superior senior year, appearing in a school record 40 games while boasting a 3.80 ERA in just over 47 innings that season.
ArizonaWildcats.com: Obviously this will be Arizona’s first season at Hi Corbett Field. What has been your initial reaction to the move?
Cory Burns: This is absolutely beautiful. I loved playing on campus, but the potential in this thing is just off the charts. It’s great even now; just imagine this place in five to 10 years when the renovations are done.
ArizonaWildcats.com: You were a player here at the U of A as recently as 2009. How cool would it have been for you to play in a facility like this?
Cory Burns: Like I said, I enjoyed playing at Jerry Kindall Field, but after a rough practice or a tough game it wasn’t fun making that long walk all the way to McKale Center. This place just feels like a baseball field. You can walk right underneath here and be in the clubhouse. You have your own training room; you have a weight room, all that stuff. This place is definitely pretty special.
ArizonaWildcats.com: What was your favorite baseball moment as an Arizona Wildcat?
Cory Burns: My favorite moment was my last appearance my senior year. Jason Stoffel and I were going back and forth on appearances so it was pretty special for me that I got to set the single season record for most appearances in a season. I’d say that was definitely the highlight of my collegiate career because I worked really hard to get to that moment.
ArizonaWildcats.com: What’s been your favorite moment as a professional baseball player so far?
Cory Burns: I’ve been in a playoff race. I set a new record for saves in Akron last year, so that was really fun. That same year I went up to Triple-A for the playoffs and we ended up winning that. Not saying the playoff success had a lot to do with me, but that was still a really neat thing to be a part of.
ArizonaWildcats.com: What was your initial reaction to being traded from the Cleveland Indians organization to the San Diego Padres?
Cory Burns: Totally different going from the east coast to the west coast. Honestly I was actually pretty speechless when I first heard the news, I just didn’t really think that would ever happen to me. I’m excited about it though; I loved everything about playing with Cleveland.
I loved everyone there, from the front office to the players. I made a lot of good friends there, but it should be exciting. I’m a west coast guy; San Diego is like six hours from my house. It should be pretty fun.
ArizonaWildcats.com: Sticking with the trade still. You always hear that cliché “sports is a business”. Is this the first time that phrase has actually meant anything to you?
Cory Burns: You know, not really. I mean you see it growing up with trades and stuff all the time. I think you really experience it when you see someone you know pretty well get traded, and that’s happened to me. But you have to realize it really is a business decision.
ArizonaWildcats.com: How has it been personally for you to come back and train in the same place where you played your college baseball?
Cory Burns: I love it. I absolutely love it. The fact that Lopez lets us all come back here is pretty special. I always found it special when I was playing here when guys like Mark Melancon, Shelley Duncan, Jordan Brown, Nick Hundley, and all those guys would come back. You create a relationship with them and it’s easier to transition to the next level when you see the work ethic these guys have. Being able to talk to them and ask them questions is just so valuable.
I’m on the other side of the token now and it’s really cool to just come out and talk to the guys and coach Lopez a little bit because I myself am still learning a lot. One of the biggest tools of teaching is being able to repeat it back, so when you can come and help a younger person try and get to where you are now, it’s pretty rewarding.
ArizonaWildcats.com: Is there a favorite ballpark you have enjoyed playing at or would like to play at as your career progresses forward?
Cory Burns: I would love to play at Chase Field. I was at opening day for the Diamondbacks when it was still Bank One Ballpark, so I think that would be something very neat to do.
ArizonaWildcats.com: Arizona is obviously pretty highly regarded in every preseason poll so far. Coach Lopez isn’t a big poll guy in general, but what are your expectations for what this team can do?
Cory Burns: (Smiling) Yeah you said it yourself, like coach Lopez always says as well, polls don’t mean a whole lot. It’s something special to be ranked, without a doubt. But you still have to go play the games. In 2008 we were preseason ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in a lot of the preseason polls and we finished close to the top that year, but not nearly where we wanted to be. I’ve seen this team work out though and I know what coach Lopez and his staff are able to do, so I think this team has a lot of potential and it’s going to be exciting to watch.