Yankees GM Brian Cashman came to the defense of beleaguered right-hander A.J. Burnett on Friday amid speculation that the $18 million-per-year pitcher could get sent to the pen.
“The stuff on A.J. is well overblown,” Cashman said. “A.J. Has been solid for us this year. I just think the way it’s playing doesn’t necessarily reflect the way he’s pitched. Let’s put it that way. The public outcry recently is all emotion rather than actual.”
Cashman noted that Burnett, who last won on June 29, hasn’t received the same kind of help Yankees starters typically get.
“If you peel the onion, if he hasn’t won in two months, look at his starts,” he said. “He’s got one of the least amounts of run support. If you break down his start by start scenario and you look at those starts, it’s not bad.”
But it’s not good either. Burnett has allowed more than four earned runs just three times this year, but he hasn’t turned in a Quality Start (at least six innings, no more than three runs) since that last win eight starts ago against Milwaukee. By any measure, he’s been the least effective of the Yankees’ six starters.
Still, I’m with Cashman here: it’s worth leaving Burnett in the rotation to see if he can turn it around, in large part because Phil Hughes seems likely to be more useful in the pen come October anyway. Burnett has never pitched in relief, and it seems unlikely that he’d make a quick adjustment to working out of the pen.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems:
Or, I should say, it’s spring training for whatever automated timer thingie turns the sprinklers on and off.
This was the scene at Goodyear on Saturday as the Indians and Reds played in the bottom of the eighth in their spring training opener. Reds manager Bryan Price says that this was probably the second or third time this has happened in the middle of a game there.
Maybe investigate manually operating that bad boy? Just a suggestion!