D.B.: Last year was awesome. I pitched so poorly the first half that it forced me learn a ton about mental toughness. Around June I was able to put it together on a personal level, and the whole team put it together at just the right time. We just got our championship rings the other day and it’s something I’ll always cherish. The chemistry on that team was unbelievable, and our ability to step up at just the right moment was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.
Over the course of the spring, Yankees fans have become more and more familiar with 25-year-old right-hander Danny Burawa. But this wasn’t the first time Burawa has donned pinstripes. The graduate of Rocky Point High School — a small school on the North Shore of Long Island — was actually with the Yankees for Spring Training in 2012 before an oblique injury cost him the season.
Since then, it’s been a battle back, but Burawa impressed last season during a championship run for the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate Trenton Thunder, and is now in a tight battle to make the Yankees’ bullpen to start the season. I asked Burawa a few questions on his injury, recovery, and hopes for the future.
Rich Arleo: First off, congratulations on your accomplishments this spring. I know you had previously gotten a taste of Spring Training action in 2012 before the oblique injury that cost you the season. How does it feel to have worked back from the injury, come back so strong last season and impressed enough to get another look this spring?
Danny Burawa: The oblique injury was tough, but at the same time it could have been way worse. Missing an entire season was awful, but at least it wasn’t my arm or anything career ending. I took a lot of positives out of it though — like learning how to listen to what my body is telling me — and a lot about patience and perspective. It felt great to follow up a lost season with a totally healthy one and to pitch well at a high enough level to get another look.
R.A.: What was it like rehabbing and battling back from the injury, and have you changed anything in your approach since returning?
D.B.: I remember the rehab being tedious and drawn out, and waking up a lot of days cursing my poor luck, but in retrospect it made me appreciate that it’s part of the game and setbacks are going to happen. It’s how you deal with them that defines your career path. I wouldn’t say I’ve changed my pitching approach on the mound, but it did make me change my preparation and off-field work.
R.A.: What was last year like returning, pitching so well and helping the Thunder win a championship?
R.A.: What, if anything, are you working on improving this season? What do you think is your best quality on the mound that has caught the eye of the Yankees? And what is your goal for this season?
D.B.: The approach that I took last year that has allowed to be more consistent, is that every day, regardless of outside circumstances, there is something to be worked on. I would be lying if I said I don’t want to be in the Major Leagues, and I wouldn’t show up to the field and give it everything I had if I didn’t believe I could make it there. However, things like making the team aren’t within my control. Working everyday to make myself a better pitcher is within my control, and if I get even just a little better everyday, hopefully I will get to where I want to be.