Burgos seeks job with Crew via WBC 2017

Right-hander made Brewers debut in '13 after Classic

Burgos seeks job with Crew via WBC 2017

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Four years ago, his success pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic propelled Hiram Burgos to the Brewers' starting rotation. The right-hander hopes history is about to repeat itself.

"I was talking to my wife about that," Burgos said. "In 2013, the Classic was a big step for me and something that opened the door to the big leagues. I feel like this year it will happen again."

Coming off a 2012 season in which he was named Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Burgos allowed one run in 13 innings over three relief stints for Puerto Rico during the 2013 World Baseball Classic and was in Milwaukee's rotation by April 20, beating the Cubs in his Major League debut.

Shoulder trouble cut short Burgos' debut season and led to surgery in 2014, followed by a demotion all the way to High A ball in 2015. But Burgos fought his way back to Triple-A Colorado Springs for the second half of '15 and spent all of '16 there, going 10-10 with a respectable 4.40 ERA in 143 1/3 innings for the Brewers' high-altitude affiliate.

"The last two years was more like a test for me," Burgos said. "I think I passed all those tests. Right now, I will keep grinding. Someone said to me I keep knocking on the door. Somehow, I have to figure out how to open it."

Burgos re-signed with Milwaukee on a Minor League contract over the winter and is part of a crowded starting-pitching corps for an organization that has the next wave of young prospects on the way. He started Friday's exhibition against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and pitched two scoreless innings.

Burgos and one of those Brewers pitching prospects, 24-year-old Jorge Lopez, will depart on March 5 to join Team Puerto Rico for this year's Classic.

Burgos will turn 30 in August. As Brewers manager Craig Counsell sees it, "It's still in front of him."

"If he keeps pitching well, at some point, you think he'll get another shot," Counsell said. "Look, if you're pitching well as a starter [at Colorado Springs], your name is in the conversation. He performed last year at that place. If you're performing and we have a need, your name is in the equation."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.