MILWAUKEE -- Brewers pitching prospect Hiram Burgos was this close to the big leagues in 2012. He was at the airport for a flight to Triple-A Nashville and was tempted to board at the adjoining gate instead -- where another plane was bound for Milwaukee. Burgos snapped a photo instead, posted it to Twitter and bided his time.
On Friday morning, Burgos, ranked by MLB.com as the Brewers' No. 13 prospect, finally took that other flight. Promoted the day before from Triple-A, Burgos will make his Major League debut against the Cubs on Saturday night at Miller Park.
"Sometimes I sit down and say, like, 'Damn. At this time last year, I was in High-A in Brevard [County, Fla.],'" Burgos said. "That's the good thing about baseball. You've got to keep working hard to get people out, and in less than a year, I'm here."
A sixth-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft from Cayey, Puerto Rico, Burgos went 10-4 with a 1.95 ERA in 27 starts and one relief appearance between Class A Brevard County, Double-A Huntsville and Nashville in 2012. He held opponents to a .210 average, struck out 153 batters versus 49 walks, won Brewers Minor League pitcher of the year honors and then -- most important of all -- won a spot on Milwaukee's 40-man roster.
Burgos was picked for this weekend promotion over fellow prospects Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg.
"I think he was pitching better," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Burgos, who had a 2.70 ERA over three Triple-A starts, does not possess the power fastball of those other two right-handers, but he proved he could pitch with a strong showing in the World Baseball Classic.
He replaced right-hander Mike Fiers, who was demoted to Nashville and will make at least two Sounds starts, the first on Saturday. That roster move was made a day earlier than necessary so Fiers will already have 10 days in the Minors by April 30, the next time after Saturday that the Brewers require a fifth starter.
"Everybody here wants [Fiers] to be one of our starters and pitch the way he did for the first couple of months last year," Roenicke said. "How do we get him there? I don't know if by using him once in a while in the bullpen, that's going to get him there."
Roenicke and his coaches will evaluate their pitching options after Burgos' start. If it goes well, they could simply keep their five pitchers lined up through off-days on the schedule.