Traded from the Washington Nationals to the Chicago Cubs in the offseason, former first-rounder Michael Burgess was anxious to make a good first impression with his new club.
Just four games into the new campaign, he seems to be right on track.
Burgess went 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs to lead the Class A Advanced Daytona Cubs to an 6-5 victory over the visiting Clearwater Threshers.
He has four longballs in 16 at-bats, and all but one of his hits have left the ballpark.
"I'm seeing the ball pretty well in the beginning of the season," Burgess said. "I hit a lot of singles and doubles at the start of last year, but I feel like I'm driving the ball better now."
The 22-year-old outfielder slugged a two-run shot to center field in the bottom of the second inning, and he beat out an infield single to third base with one away in the fourth.
"In the second inning, I got a couple pitches that I fouled back that I really should have put in play, but it worked out for the best," he said. "He served up a 2-2 fastball and I was able to throw my hands to it and drive it to center."
Burgess flied out to right in the sixth, but plated the eventual game-winner in the seventh with a three-run blast off Jordan Whatcott.
"In the seventh, I just wanted to wait for a pitch I could drive or elevate because we were down by one. The first pitch was a changeup away for a strike and then I thought I checked my swing, but they said it was strike two. I stepped out and took a deep breath, and he gave me an 0-2 changeup down that I hit out."
Selected by the Nationals 49th overall in the 2007 Draft, Burgess entered Monday's game batting .167 (2-for-12), but he said he's been more concerned with adjusting to playing a new position than his batting average.
"It was only a matter of time until the hits started to come," he added. "I really want to work on playing left field, because this is my first season there. This team hasn't really seen me yet, so first impressions really mean a lot."
Acquired by the Cubs in January in the deal that sent Tom Gorzelanny to Washington, Burgess batted .265 with 18 homers and 85 RBIs across two levels in 2010. The left-hander believes he can improve on those numbers in 2011.
"I've got to show them what I'm capable of," he said. "I want to keep working hard and then work even harder than before. The organization believes in me and I just have to have faith in myself."