Kim Burns was just about to go to bed late Thursday night when her phone rang.
It was her 25-year-old son, Andy Burns. Playing pro baseball on the East Coast, it was an odd time for him to call, making her hope it’s the news they’ve been waiting to hear.
Overcome with emotion, Andy shared the news with his mom. He was going to the major leagues, Toronto-bound to make his MLB debut with the Blue Jays.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Kim said on the phone Friday as she headed to the airport to see Andy’s debut. “It’s something we hoped for and thought about a lot, but you never know when that’s going to happen.”
Burns, a 2008 Rocky Mountain graduate, had his contract purchased by the Blue Jays. Toronto is hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday and Sunday. Burns didn’t appear in Friday’s game.
He’s spent every game this season with Toronto’s Triple A Buffalo Bisons, where he is hitting .250 with nine doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs. The 11th round pick of the 2011 draft has played second base, third, shortstop, left field and right field for the Bisons this season. He hasn’t made an error in 103 chances.
“That is as good as it gets as a baseball coach,” said Rocky Mountain coach Scott Bullock, who also received a call from Burns late Thursday night.
“The beauty with Andy is he’s gone through all the steps. He worked his way up through the minor league system. A true success story as far as grinding it out. Now he’s getting his chance.”
Gregor Chisholm, the Blue Jays reporter for MLB.com, suggested in a story Friday that Burns could make his debut Saturday against Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw.
After the late-night call from her son, Kim scrambled to get the family to Toronto. Her passport only allows her to drive across the border, so she’s flying to Buffalo, New York, where she’ll meet Andy’s grandparents and make the drive to Toronto. Andy’s sister will also be there, but his father will meet up in San Francisco for Toronto’s next series because he doesn’t have a current passport.
Kim spent most of the night planning the trip. Her first-grade class at Skyview Elementary in Windsor had a performance Friday, then she was off for a Mother’s Day trip to see her son, who gave her the best Mother’s Day gift ever.
“I’m going on about three hours of sleep and just so excited and not even sure of the reality of it,” Kim said. “I’m about to jump on a plane to Buffalo and I have a one-way ticket and that’s all I have. I’ll figure it out when I get there.
Burns appeared in more spring training games (25) than any other Blue Jays player as a non-roster invitee. He hit .286 with four doubles, a triple, home run and eight RBIs in spring.
He was part of the first two of the Lobos’ four straight state title teams from 2007-10.
Burns is the second Rocky Mountain grad to make the majors after former teammate Marco Gonzales made his debut with the Cardinals in June of 2014. After starting in Triple A this season, Gonzales will miss the entire season due to Tommy John surgery.
The Blue Jays optioned right-handed pitcher Ryan Tepera to Buffalo to make room for Burns.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.