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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pedro Borbon establish himself in bigs, returned from injury

Pedro Borbon 1990 Burlington Braves
Pedro Borbon had finally established himself in the majors in 1996. That year and the year before, Borbon had more than 40 major league appearances.

Then, that August, a torn elbow ligament ended his season and sent Borbon on to Tommy John surgery, according to The Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

"It's devastating," Borbon told The Herald-Journal afterward. "I worked so hard to establish myself and it's a shame I have to go out like this."

Borbon came back from that, but it took some time. By the time he finally returned to the majors in 1999, Borbon established himself again. When he got back, he was ready for a 70-outing season, three of them.

Borbon's career began in 1988, signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent out of Ranger College in Texas. He also followed his father, Pedro Borbon, Sr., to the pros and to the majors. His father played in 12 big league seasons.

The younger Borbon played just one season in the White Sox system, in the rookie Gulf Coast League. After skipping 1989, Borbon returned in 1990 with the Braves at single-A Burlington.

He then first saw AA in 1991. At the end of 1992, Borbon made his major league debut, getting into two games. He gave up one earned in 1.1 innings of work.

Early in Borbon's professional career, he was a starter. By 1993, though, Borbon was a reliever.

"I have no preference," Borbon told The Associated Press in spring 1993. "They have so many great starting pitchers here, so when they told me the quickest way to the 'bigs' was as a relief pitcher, I said 'great.'"

It took Borbon a couple more years, but he got there. He got into three more games in 1993, missed the majors completely in 1994. Then, in 1995, Borbon broke through with 41 outings. He also picked up a save in Game 4 of the 1995 World Series.

In 1996, he got into another 43 games, then he tore his elbow ligament. He didn't make it back to the majors until 1999. That year, he got into 70 for the Dodgers, but only 50.2 innings. His ERA came in at 4.09.

Borbon moved to the Blue Jays for 2000, staying with them into 2002. In 2001, he got into 70 games, 53.1 innings. In 2002, between the Blue Jays and the Astros, he got into 72 games, 50.1 innings.

"He's been good at getting left-handed hitters out," Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker told reporters after trading for Borbon. "I see him as a situational lefty, a legitimate option late in games when we need to get a couple of left-handed hitters out."

Borbon then finished out his major league career in 2003, with seven outings for the Cardinals. He didn't throw his final professional pitch, though until 2006, last playing at independent Bridgeport.
Originally published Jan. 17, 2014

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