CSU grad eyes starting slot in Brewers mound rotation

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - It's amazing the difference a year makes.

Last year, Tyler Thornburg was getting in his offseason bullpen sessions at Charleston Southern as a Milwaukee Brewers prospect. This year, he's throwing in Charleston Southern's bullpen as a Milwaukee Brewer.

He hopes to come back even more established next year.

"I'd like to go to camp and win a starting job. Hopefully that is going to happen," said Thornburg.

If nothing else, Thornburg will go back to Milwaukee Brewers camp with a different mental approach.

"Going into last year, I didn't know what to expect. All of them were guys that I'd never met before -- Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez. Going into this year, I think I'll be a bit more comfortable," he said.

Thornburg does look back at the day he met those guys in a major league clubhouse like it was yesterday.

"See it in the movies, all of the corny stuff but yes, hopping on a plane you start to think of everything you've done to get there, all of the hard work you spent to get to that point," he said.

Thornburg's debut was a bit rocky. After a solid start, he gave up several home runs to the Toronto Blue Jays and took the loss. Thornburg says the guys in the clubhouse couldn't have been better about it.

"In front of cameras they are all professionals. They have been around a while and know exactly what to do. When the media is out of the clubhouse, they're just guys -- regular dudes -- they are a joy to be around," he said.

Thornburg is now one of the guys in a big league clubhouse, just like he's one of the guys at Charleston Southern.

"It's the program that pole vaulted me to where I am now. Even now, I need a catcher to get ready for spring training. They are so accommodating to me with whatever I need. Coming from a program like this, it makes it all more special," he said.

Thornburg says one of the highlights of his stay in the big leagues was playing the New York Mets and actually introducing himself to another CSU Buccaneer -- Bobby Parnell.

Who knows what kind of memories Thornburg will bring back to Charleston Southern next offseason.