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Updated: December 14th, 2011 5:54pm
Twins reach minor league deal with former top prospect Sean Burroughs

Twins reach minor league deal with former top prospect Sean Burroughs

by Phil Mackey
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The Minnesota Twins are taking a low-risk flier on one of baseball's top prospects from a decade ago.

Third baseman Sean Burroughs, once the ninth-overall pick by the San Diego Padres in the 1998 draft, has agreed to a minor league deal, a team source confirmed Wednesday.

Burroughs, now 31, ranked as high as No. 4 on Baseball America's top 100 list in 2002, at one point posting a .322/.386/.467 batting line for Triple-A Portland in 2001. Burroughs showed promise for the Padres in 2003 and 2004, posting a collective batting line of .292/.350/.384, and he has always been regarded a solid defender.

But Burroughs' career ultimately hit a wall due in large part to substance abuse.

In an excerpt from an feature in June, Burroughs described his life as a "Leaving Las Vegas" existence.

The article said Burroughs was "checking in and out of the cheapest motels he could find, wandering the streets of Las Vegas at all hours and abusing every substance he could ingest. Burroughs says he was so desperate and paranoid that if you picked a couple particularly bad days in 2010 you could find this Little League hero, this Olympic gold medalist, this former big leaguer ... eating cheeseburgers out of garbage cans."

Burroughs managed to turn things around enough to sign a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, where he hit .412/.450/.618 in 110 plate appearances for Triple-A Reno. In 115 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks Burroughs hit just .273/.289/.336 with one home run.

The Twins consider Burroughs a solid defender, even at age 31, and they like his gap power and professional approach to at-bats. If Danny Valencia struggles, it's possible Burroughs could be given a shot.

He'll likely start the season at Triple-A Rochester.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Danny Valencia