Burnett struggles with command against former team


For the first time as a Yankee, AJ Burnett just didn’t have it tonight. Joe Inglett hit his first pitch of the game off the right-center field wall for a leadoff triple, the first extra base hit (and second hit period) Burnett’s allowed this spring. He worked around the trouble and escaped the first without allowing a run by getting Lyle Overbay to ground into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play with the bases juiced. There was a scary moment in the third (I think it was the third, anyway) when Burnett took a John McDonald line drive off the left tricep before catching a spike as he attempted to field the ball. Thankfully he was fine and pitched until he reached his limit, throwing just 33 of his 61 pitches for strikes as he battled his command. He walked three and only struck out one in 3.1 IP, but he did have a nice 7-2 GB/FB rate.

Brian Bruney replaced Burnett in the fourth, threw one of his warmup pitches to the backstop, then threw his first five pitches (all fastballs) out of the strike zone. Jorge Posada switched it up after that and starting calling for sliders, which Bruney was able to get over the plate, eventually inducing an inning ending 5-4-3 double play. Bruney loaded the bases in the fifth and allowed a two-run double to ex-Scranton Yank Jason Lane before giving way to Steven Jackson, who wiggled out of the inning on just one pitch.

Mariano Rivera threw the next inning, and I have to be honest, I didn’t catch him in action because I was watching The Office. Judging by his 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K line, I’d say things went pretty well. Edwar Ramirez followed him with a scoreless inning, and Danny Giese picked up the save with two innings of one run ball.

Offensively, the heavy lifting was done by Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher, and Hideki Matsui. Posada scored a pair of runs and drove in another thanks to a 1-for-3 effort, but more importantly things went just fine for him behind the plate once again. Swisher went 2-for-2, pulling a run scoring double down the left field line after fouling off at least four pitches in a 1-2 count in his second plate appearance. Matsui drove in a run with a shot into the opposite field gap, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. He smiled as he jogged off the field, and indication that his knees are fine. Austin Jackson went 1-for-1 with a walk off the bench, and Eduardo Nunez hit a two-run homer off former Yankee draft pick David Purcey in the eighth to put the game out of reach. The Yanks won 7-4, and are riding a seven game winning streak.

Phil Hughes will take on the Twins in Fort Myers tomorrow afternoon while Andy Pettitte pitches against a squad of minor leaguers in Tampa. Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Robbie Cano, and Matsui will be joining Hughes on the two hour bus trip. Swisher was scheduled to join them, but he’ll be held back after fouling a ball of his left calf and suffering a bruise, which he’s not too happy about.

  • Reggie C.

    I’m just glad that AJ stayed in the game after taking the hit. If Joe G. had pulled him, we’d all still be talking “is-he-or-isn’t-he” till the official word came down. I didn’t watch the game but i’ll assume (safely) that his pitches generated alot of late/awkward swings from the Jays lineup. Perhaps this kind of success is what AJ picked up from Halladay.

    • whozat

      Actually, he was missing a lot and kind of riding the edge. Happens to everyone, though.

  • Steve A

    I know preseason stats don’t matter and to be honest, I don’t even know what his spring stats are at this point, but is anyone having a quieter spring than Mark Teixiera?

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      He did say that he was a slow starter. Getting his swings mechanically sound I’m sure.

      • Mike A.

        He’s hitting .423-.467-.538.

        • whozat

          And yet people still trust their memories more than the numbers.

          • Steve A

            I wasn’t really referring to his numbers as much as the fact that there is barely any mention of him on blogs and in the news. For a guy that just signed a huge contract, he’s really flying under the radar.

            • John

              yep, playing in NY with the other stars will do that for you.

            • Mike R. – Retire 21

              Is that why you said “I know preseason stats don’t matter and to be honest, I don’t even know what his spring stats are at this point”?

              • Tommy S.

                You took his quote out of context by not mentioning the last line.

                “I know preseason stats don’t matter and to be honest, I don’t even know what his spring stats are at this point, but is anyone having a quieter spring than Mark Teixiera?

                The last line is where he makes his point.

                • Tommy S.

                  Also, the last line is where he makes his only question.

        • John

          clearly a bust

          • John

            and only a 1.005 OPS! Pfft…

        • Mike R. – Retire 21


    • Rich


    • LiveFromNY

      Tex’s slow start can only mean one thing: Joba to the pen!

  • yankeefan91 Arod fan

    Yea it looked like AJ didn’t have it tonight and i was praying that Burnett didn’t get hurt after taking that hit.That was a great post the previous thread its was pretty interesting that a lot of people have connections.I really thank and always Willy Taveras and his mom for what they did for us being there all the time for my grandfather and that’s a blessing that hes in the majors even though people think he sucks but at least hes up there.

    • Tom Zig

      Everyone has a bad start here or there.

      According to some people, if you play for the Yankees you either have bad starts or you have blow ups.

  • Rich

    Dead arm period?

  • josh

    curious if thw web site has decided what will replace the tommy john rehab side bar from last year. you could go back to a phil hughes watch or maybe a tall pitchers watch(brackmen/bteances/mccallister). or switch to offense and go with an austin jackson watch. or just a center fielder watch with melky, jackson, and gardner.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Or maybe a panda watch.

  • dkidd

    anyone else get the feeling jorge and aj don’t like each other? maybe he reminds jorge of farnsworth?

    • Ben K.

      I’d have no problems with Jose Molina catching A.J. Burnett every time he goes out there. Why not? Jorge needs his rest anyway.

      • dkidd

        actually kind of a fun to think about. if molina’s going to play 50+ games, who do you match him up with? the guys with the worst moves to first (i.e. the 3 righties)? the guys who throw curves in the dirt?

        • Spaceman.Spiff

          In a 3 or 4 game series with a team that runs a lot, like the Rays, I’d be reluctant to have Jorge catch more than once, especially early in the season. I’d give him a day off, a day as DH, and a day to catch Pettitte hopefully since he has a great pickoff move. CC is the next preferable guy for Posada to catch. Against most teams I guess one of the pitchers should have Molina as their everyday catcher.

          • handtius

            I’d stick Molina with Joba. He’s good for the youngins, to help them build their game. And AJ, because Wanger never really had a lot of steals of him for whatever reason.

            • Rich

              More importantly you want Molina catching pitchers that have trouble holding runners. Joba has that problem.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I really like and wholeheartedly endorse your general “Posada catches lefties and Molina catches righties” idea.

            Give Jorge every opportunity to catch the pitchers who are better at holding runners and decreasing leads. Limit his exposure on the other days.

            Between Joba, Burnett, and Wang, who’s the slowest to the plate?

  • handtius

    Ha. I missed Mo too. I was actually torn between watching him and the Office…Office won.

    It’s goodto have these rough starts now. he needs to get in all kinds of work. working out of the strech and getting out of jams. man, triple to lead of the game and the man does not score and AJ didn’t have his shite together today? I’m happy with that.

    • Henry Frisch

      Mo needed five pitches to get a bunch of Little Leaguers out. Maybe they should let him pitch in the second inning when the Big Leaguers are still playing.

      • Joe R

        They’re all little leaguers in comparison to Mo. All praise be to Mo.

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    Brett Tomko make the team?

    B Tomko 0-1 ERA 1.59 IP 11.1 H 8 R 2 ER 2

    That’s the second most IP of anyone on the team. Tells me they’re taking a good long look at him.

    And yes, ST stats matter for a guy who’s trying to make the team, which he is. His are outstanding.

    • Stanton Social

      True, but he’s also pitching against minor league guys. I think the long reliever competition will come down to how Giese and Tomko do during the last week, when major leaguers are in there for a full 9 innings.

      My feeling on why Giese is getting hit is simply, he is facing minors guys who are used to his velocity. There is no change of pace for them. Aceves needs some AAA seasoning

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        If the competition for the last bullpen spot really is between Giese, Tomko, and Aceves, it’s Tomko by a landslide.

        And I’ve got no problem DFAing Giese to add Tomko. I bet he’d clear waivers and accept the ML assignment.

  • dkidd

    who’s he up against for mop-up duties. aceves and giese?

  • mustang

    Jayson Stark heard rumblings that the Yankees could be interested in Mike Cameron again, but Melvin said: “We’re not talking trade with any team now.”

    WHY? I know its Spring Training, but the Yankees center-field candidates are doing well and Cameron is having a bad Spring. I just don’t get this one.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Jayson Stark heard rumblings that the Yankees could be interested in Mike Cameron again, but Melvin said: “We’re not talking trade with any team now.”

      Damn, Melvin Croussett is already making roster decisions for the Yankees? I knew it was only a matter of time before they made him the first ever prospect-GM, but I didn’t expect it so soon.

      Congratulations to him.

    • steve (different one)

      WHY? I know its Spring Training, but the Yankees center-field candidates are doing well and Cameron is having a bad Spring. I just don’t get this one.

      it is just a rumor that is probably based on next to nothing.

  • Manimal

    seriously, he didnt have great stuff but look at his line. Amazing.

  • steve (different one)

    Eduardo Nunez hit a to-run homer off former Yankee draft pick David Purcey

    don’t let TSJC see this spelling debacle…

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Things that push my bad-spelling irritation buttons:

      1) misspelling names of Yankee players (dude, they try/tried to win games for you. At least have the common courtesy to get “Abreu” and “Pettitte” right.) I have zero tolerance for this.
      2) misspelling a player named in the above post. Scroll up, IT’S RIGHT THERE.
      3) HABITUAL and REPEATED misspellings of words. If you mess up two/to/too every once in a while, no big deal. If you do it all the time… you look like a fool. Everyone’s entitled to make simple mistakes. Nobody is entitled to repeated, sustained, willful ignorance.
      4) HABITUAL and REPEATED misspellings of words that drastically change the meaning of a sentence. Don’t be mad at me for clowning on you because you predicted VCU would “loose” last night’s game. That’s funny. You don’t wanna be clowned on, look up the damn word first. Go to Takes like 3 seconds.

  • Andy

    Speaking of Nunez, when are people going to start giving him a little more credit as a propsect? The dude hit .313 at Staten Island at age 17-18, and then was rushed to high A the next year, where he categorically flopped (although he did show impressive power there). He also had 600 bad ABs at Charleston, but so did Austin Jackson before breaking out at Tampa, where Nunez hit .285 part time in ’07 and .271 full time in ’08, on a team that didn’t have one guy with over 250 ABs hit above .290 – and he was still young for high A, at 20-21. For a guy who, after this spring, will probably be the Yanks starting SS at Trenton, at age 21, with speed and power potetnial, and the defensive ablility to be a good SS, he is getting zero hype, despite his ridiculously hot spring (.455/.500/.683 in 22 ABs)…

  • Rob S.

    I thought Burnett had a great start last night. When a pitcher can go out there without his best stuff and keep the game manageable, it’s a big deal. If he had a normal pitch count he would have gone 6 innings and maybe given up three or four runs, I’d sign up for that most nights. We all know Burnett can blow anybody away if all his pitches are working. Last night he showed that he can control a game when all of his pitches aren’t working. Don’t fall in love with strikeouts, a ground ball or a fly ball has the same result.