Posts Tagged ‘A.J. Burnett’

If Only A.J. Had Been There….

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

AJ cream.jpg

I would love to have seen him apply the pie to Ichiro in what was, remarkably, the Yankees’ first walk off win of the season. Such fun. With one swing, Ichiro took care of the Rangers and put an end to a pretty cool pitching match-up.

In their pre-game comments, the beat writers were saying that with Darvish on the mound, the Yanks would have to play small ball and scratch out runs any way they could. Frustratingly, the offense couldn’t make that happen at all, not even with bases loaded and one out. But they did hit the long ball and thank God they did. Darvish wasn’t throwing his best stuff, but they managed to hit the ball into the seats and tie the score. Kuroda looked a little peeved to be pulled for Logan at 99 pitches, but it all worked out. And Mo got the win.

The Rangers don’t seem as scary without Hamilton in the lineup, but it was still a very nice “W” for the boys. Has the Z Man come back to earth? He looked it tonight, but I hope he’s not “over.”

Just a word or two about the Cashman-A-Rod kerfuffle. I get that Alex has caused the Yankees more than his share of bad PR, but Cashman didn’t need to F-bomb his tweet today. It didn’t seem to me that there was insubordination or an attempt to overstep. It was a player’s excitement at being cleared by his doctor to get back to baseball and his team. So what. Cashman should save his cursing for something that warrants it.




Poor A.J.’s Eye

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I never thought I’d have to use this photo for AJ as a Pittsburgh Pirate. Sigh.

When I read about his accident yesterday, I felt sorry for him. There he was at the Pirates’ training camp, having said how happy he was to be back in the National League so he could bat again, when he bunts a ball right smack into his eye. And now comes word he’s having surgery. Another sigh.

Burnett to undergo surgery for orbital fracture
The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a fractured right orbital bone.

The right-hander injured himself on Wednesday at the team’s spring training facilities in Bradenton, Fla. after a bunt attempt caromed off his face. He flew to Pittsburgh late Wednesday to be further evaluated.

There is no immediate timetable for Burnett’s return.

Not an auspicious start for him.


So Long, A.J.

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Well, he’s a Pirate. Not officially – there’s a physical scheduled for Sunday, I believe – but A. J. won’t be in the Yankees rotation anymore. I wish we’d gotten more out of the deal than a couple of low-level prospects, but whatever.

Now that he’s gone, I’m kind of sad. Who will be the new pie guy? I’d give the job to Swisher, but it really needs to go to a pitcher. Maybe Joba?

By all accounts, the players enjoyed having A.J. has a teammate (Nova, especially), and he did pitch a few spectacular games. I also have a fond memory of his participation in HOPE Week when he stayed up all night to hang out with the kids who can’t be out in the sun/daylight. And I wouldn’t be shocked if he throws a no-hitter as a Pirate; he does have the stuff.

The pressure in the Bronx now falls on the shoulders of Phil Hughes, in my opinion. Will he finally take his spot as the Prospect-Who-Made-Good? I sure hope so.



Random Thoughts

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

* Sad news today about Gary Carter. From everything I’ve read he sounded like a terrific guy with a loving family. He sure was a great catcher.

* The A.J. Trade Watch continues. If his wife had gotten over her fear of flying, A.J. would have been on the Angels by now and we would have had Bobby “I’m Afraid of the Wall” Abreu back. Oh, well. Maybe by the time I wake up here in California tomorrow, the deal with the Pirates will have been done.

* The story about Bobby Valentine and his grumbling Red Sox players made me laugh.

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that his spring training regimen he laid out has so far been met with some grumbling from players who aren’t used to his more demanding style.

“When I look at the program we devised, I don’t think of it as tough. But it seems it’s different because a lot of people are frowning. I just asked them to give (it) a few days,” Valentine said, according to The Boston Globe.

* Only a few more days until P&C, people.


Other Suitors For AJ?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

According to the YES web site, that’s the case.

As discussions heat up between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees about A.J. Burnett, reports have surfaced that there are apparently at least two other teams interested in his services. senior writer Ken Rosenthal Tweeted this morning that according to his sources, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are interested in Burnett, but that scenario would be highly unlikely; A.J. has a limited no-trade clause that can block deals to 10 teams – one of which is the Angels – and he prefers to stay east.

Later,’s Jon Heyman tweeted that the Cleveland Indians have also checked in, with the Indians potentially willing to send designated hitter Travis Hafner and his $13 million salary to New York for Burnett.

Despite the swirling rumors, the Pirates are still optimistic they can get a deal done for Burnett, who makes his off-season home in northern Maryland.

Why the Angels would want him I can’t guess. They already got C.J. Wilson and have other arms in their rotation. And they rarely do business with the Yankees.


A Premature But Nevertheless Entertaining Farewell To A.J.

Monday, February 13th, 2012

It’s very possible that a trade with the Pirates will be announced in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so Wally Matthews of ESPNNY was ready with a fond goodbye.

A six-pack to savor: The Best of A.J. Burnett
February, 13, 2012

By Wallace Matthews
In anticipation of the imminent end of the A.J. Burnett Error, humbly offers “A.J.’s Greatest Hits,” the highlights — or is it lowlights — of the three-year Yankees tenure of Allan James Burnett.

1. The Shiner

Every bit as mysterious as the Jack Nicholson/Stanley Kubrick film of a similar title, Burnett showed up with a black eye — the right eye, by the way (as an ex-boxing writer, I tend to notice these things) — before a start at Camden Yards in September of 2010, the source of which has never been revealed. All we were told is that it was not “baseball-related,” meaning none of his teammates took a poke at him, and a call to the local police stations in Baltimore revealed no evidence of an off-field incident involving the Yankees’ right-hander. I even asked Joe Girardi if he had popped Burnett. No,” said the manager, who was not laughing.

2. I have two words for you, Joe Girardi

“What keptcha?”

No, that’s not really what Burnett said when the manager came to collect him in the second inning of a miserable outing in Minneapolis. In fact, you didn’t have to be a lip-reader to know what Burnett threw back at his manager on the way off the mound, although everyone involved denied it afterward and Girardi even had an on-air meltdown when questioned about it by the YES Network’s Jack Curry. Whatever was said, and to whom, was serious enough to warrant Girardi charging down to the clubhouse and demanding that Burnett repeat it, according to Burnett, but the two claimed to be lovey-dovey after the game.

3. Clubhouse doors, beware

After Burnett pitched a shaky but certainly not terrible second inning against the Rays at Yankee Stadium on July 17, 2010, he was abruptly removed from the game after facing two batters in the third. The Yankees offered no explanation for the sudden pitching change until after the game, when Girardi, rather awkwardly, said, “A.J. got a little frustrated, and, er, hurt himself.” Turns out Burnett, after allowing a two-run HR to Reid Brignac in the second, had stormed into the clubhouse and slammed his hands into the doors leading to the back area, slicing the palms of both hands on the Plexiglas frames used to display the lineup cards. Burnett then made it worse, lying to Girardi that he had tripped on the stairs and landed on his hands. The result: the frames were gone by the next time Burnett started and the lineup cards are now taped to the doors.

4. Soupy Who?

In 2009, Burnett endeared himself to Yankee Stadium fans by treating teammates who won games with walkoff hits with a cream pie in the kisser — really nothing more than a blob of shaving cream in a towel — a continuation of a routine he had started while a Toronto Blue Jay. Since the Yankees had 15 walk-off wins in the regular season and two more in the post-season, Burnett threw more pies than Soupy Sales, the old TV comedian for whom pie-throwing was a form of comic aggression. In fact, Sales died during the 2009 season, an event I informed Burnett of in front of his locker. “That sucks,” Burnett said, with real concern on his face. “Who’s he?”

5. ABJ — Anybody but Jorge

No, there was never any problem between Burnett and Jorge Posada. The two got along fine –except on days Burnett was pitching and Posada was catching. And even though both vehemently denied what was clear to anyone paying attention –that Burnett didn’t like throwing to Posada and Posada didn’t like catching him — of the 15 post-season games the Yankees played on the way to the 2009 World Championship, Posada caught 10 of them, light-hitting Jose Molina the other five. The five pitched by Burnett. And as soon as Burnett left the game, so did Molina, for Posada as a pinch-hitter. In 2010, it was a similar arrangement, with Francisco Cervelli assuming the Molina role. Last year, there was no Posada behind the plate for A.J. to kick around, and in fairness, he seemed to find a rapport with Russell Martin.

6. It wasn’t all bad. Really

There was, of course, Game 2 of the 2009 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, both a blessing and a curse for Yankees fans. The blessing was that Burnett pitched seven strong innings, striking out nine, in the Yankees 3-1 win, the victory that evened the Series after Cliff Lee had stifled the Yankees in Game 1. The curse was that this was the game Girardi kept pointing to as his reason for keeping Burnett in the rotation, even when it was approaching two years in the rear-view mirror.

As Matthews notes, it wasn’t all bad, and that was the frustrating part of A.J. Burnett. He was always capable of throwing a no-hitter and he won some big games for the Yanks. But watching him pitch was like watching a trapeze artist fly without a net; you just never knew when he’d lose it and plunge.



Cashman’s Next Reign

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011


Not that there was any doubt that Cash would sign a new contract, but it’s nice to have stability in the front office. It just is.

I read the highlights from his conference call with the media and it was all pretty standard stuff, although two things did stand out for me.

“I don’t anticipate a bat being a need at all,” he said.


Sure, the Yankees have a loaded lineup. But that loaded lineup not only went cold in the postseason, it’s got guys like Tex and Swisher who are streaky, plus A-Rod will be coming off an injury-riddled, sub-par season. And there won’t be Posada. Are we relying on Montero as DH? Don’t we need a bench if Chavez and Jones aren’t back? Contrary to what our GM said, I would like a bat. Or two.

“I would not look at A.J. as a reliever,” he said. “If he’s with us, without a doubt he’s in the rotation.”


If he’s with us? Was Cashman implying that AJ might be traded? Sort of a weird comment.


AJ Finally Gets An August Win

Monday, August 15th, 2011

I know. He looks like he’s saying, “I won a game? Seriously?” And if he were my husband, I’d make him do something about the hair. But whatever. He got the “W” – thanks, in part, to Girardi for pulling him before he could blow the lead yet again.

He gave up a lot of ground balls, many of them hits, and he had his usual bad inning. The good news is that the bad inning wasn’t that bad (if you don’t count walking in a run). I guess that’s progress.

Nice pickoff by Boone Logan and another by the tag team of Martin and Cano. Excellent offensive display by the Captain. And Posada continues to show signs of life.

I like it a whole lot better when we take a series opener than when we don’t.


Walks and Errors and Lightning, Oh My

Monday, July 18th, 2011

What a weird win, but I loved it. Well, I loved everything except A.J.’s wildness (six walks and a throwing error – ugh). If I read tomorrow that he smashed his hand into a glass door after the game, I won’t be surprised. He looked kind of snarly in the dugout.

Anyhow, it was a nice comeback for the Yanks. For most of the game, the offense was half dead against yet another pitcher they’d never faced. But then came the Rays’ exhausted bullpen, plus a kid they’d called up from the minors, and the Yankees pounced. It didn’t hurt that Noesi had a huge strikeout with bases loaded, that D-Rob was a strikeout machine and that Mo did his usual save thing. Good job, boys.

I wasn’t sure the game would be finished, given the delay because of the lightning-induced power outage at the Trop. Not only did that bank of lights go out, but so did my YES feed. Doesn’t it seem as if something spooky always happens there? It’s like that dome is haunted or something.

I know I said this in last night’s post, but how hot is Brett Gardner right now? And, conversely, how cold is Mark Teixeira? This cold?

For the uninitiated, the above is a box of It’s-It ice cream sandwiches and I had one (a sandwich, not the whole box) during the game. It’s-It is a San Francisco-based ice cream producer and there’s nothing – I mean nothing – like their ice cream. The original ice cream sandwich has vanilla surrounded by a chocolate shell with an oatmeal cookie on the top and bottom. It’s to die for.

Sorry. Back to business. With game 1 of this series in the books, we turn to Colon tomorrow night. I say if he falters again, a trade is imperative – as in Make It Happen, Cashman.


Austin Kearns? Really?

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Photo: Rob Tringali/Getty Images North America

Shelley Duncan? Really?

Why is it that ex-Yankees – mediocre ex-Yankees – always beat us? I know, I know. They probably try harder. Still, doesn’t it seem as if Melky, Betemit and other castoffs are the ones who do damage?

In tonight’s loss, it was Shelley who got the Indians’ offense started and Kearnsy who finished us off. Such a shame too. A.J. pitched superbly for 100+ pitches, but was clearly struggling in the 7th after being victimized by a pop-up that neither A-Rod nor Gardner could catch. I expected Girardi to lift him, not learning until later that Ayala and Mo were both ailing (was that why he blew the save yesterday?) and our pen was short of arms. Cory Wade got the nod and didn’t do much with it.

At least we weren’t no-hit by Josh Tomlin. I mean seriously. That would have been unpleasant, especially on the occasion of Jeter’s return from the DL. Has our offense disappeared again? Or was Tomlin that good?

I hope everyone had a Happy July 4th, in spite of what turned out to be a bummer of a game. I did – thanks to a steak barbecue and one of my favorite summer treats.