8:48 PM: Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that Burnett cut his hand on a plastic lineup card after slamming a set of double doors in the Yankees’ clubhouse after the second inning. To make matters worse, he told the Yanks coaching staff at first that he tripped, and that the lacerations were an accident. Burnett said he plans to apologize to the entire team on Sunday.
6:41 PM: A.J. Burnett left Saturday’s game against the Rays in the third inning due to cuts on his right hand, according to Tim Britton of MLB.com.
Burnett allowed four runs on four hits — including a two-run home run by Reid Brignac — over two-plus innings before being relieved by Dustin Moseley. He also hit two batters and committed an error.
When Yankees manager Joe Girardi was interviewed during the game on FOX, he said he wasn’t aware how Burnett suffered the cuts on his hand. Just a short while ago, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman informed Kim Jones of YES Network that Burnett tripped up some stairs and scraped his hand while bracing his fall. It’s not known when or where the incident occurred, though I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.