Rick Peterson observed in amazement. Greg Burke was 15 pitches into his final bullpen of spring training, his first time pitching from a sidearm slot. Instead of losing velocity, he was throwing harder than he previously had as a conventional, over-the-top pitcher, up from his usual 88-90 miles per hour to 91-92 with heavy sink on his fastball.

"Holy cow," thought Peterson, the Orioles’ director of pitching development.

Peterson called over John Stockstill, then the Orioles’ director of player development. After a few minor adjustments, they allowed Burke to pitch in a simulated game on an adjacent field 40 feet away. Burke faced a trio of Single-A hitters.

"It was like they were blind," said Peterson, the former Mets pitching coach. "They had no idea where the ball was going."

Peterson asked Burke how he felt. Giddy, the right-hander said he felt great. They then had him join an intrasquad game on another field. Burke faced four Double-A and Triple-A hitters. A group of front office personnel, including general manager Dan Duquette, gathered. Burke, releasing the ball around his knee, was dominant.

"Who is this guy?" Duquette asked Peterson.

"Dan, we dropped him down 20 minutes ago," Peterson replied. "This is unbelievable."

When Burke walked off the field in Sarasota that day, the final day of spring training, an invite to extended spring training awaited. In the span of a half-hour, Burke’s career was resurrected, his life changed.

"He went from a plane ticket to New Jersey," Peterson said, "to punching a lottery ticket."

A year into his transformation, Burke, a Marlton native, is now a member of the Mets, likely to crack the 25-man roster for Opening Day. He very easily could have gone down another career path.