Indians Pitcher Draws Hideo Nomo Comps

CLEVELAND—After Cory Burns trots out from the bullpen, it doesn't take long before comparisons to Hideo Nomo are made.

At 23, the 6-foot Burns has a long way to go to match the accomplishments of Nomo.

In the meantime, Burns' similar windup—in which he turns his back completely to the hitter with his arms raised high above his head—has helped him strike out 14 in six innings while racking up six saves at Double-A Akron, leading all Eastern League closers.

"He's got a different type of a windup than most people have probably seen before," Aeros pitching coach Tony Arnold said. "Some people describe it—and what I thought when I first saw it—is he's like a tornado."

When a righthander doesn't throw harder than 90 mph, he needs to do something to keep hitters off balance. In addition to the unique wind-up, Burns will add a pause at varied intervals before uncoiling himself, constantly keeping the batter guessing.

Burns' wind up was born out of necessity. When a traditional over-the-top delivery wasn't yielding results heading into his final year of college, he began experimenting with different arm angles in an attempt to keep his career alive.

"We started moving my arm slot down then began looking for the craziest wind-up we could think of where I could still throw strikes," he said. "This one ended up working."

Last year in his first full season as a professional, Burns led Indians farmhands in saves (42) pitching for low Class A Lake County and high Class A Kinston.

"He's got three pitches and pretty good command of all three," Arnold said. "Nothing really overpowering like a power closer might have, but the (closer) makeup is there. He's got a very short-term memory and every time he goes out there, he's all business on the mound."


• To clear a spot on the 25-man roster for righthander Joe Smith coming off the disabled list, the Indians optioned righthander Frank Herrmann to Triple-A Columbus. Herrmann had made four relief appearances for the Tribe, going 0-0, 8.31.

• Third baseman Jason Donald moved up from Double-A to Triple-A Columbus. Donald, coming back from a broken left index finger, hit .273 with a steal in three Double-A games.