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.
Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz hasn’t pitched in a week due to soreness in his left forearm. He threw a bullpen on Thursday afternoon and said, “I definitely feel like I can maybe help (as a reliever in the playoffs,” as ESPN’s Scott Lauber reports.
The Red Sox clinched the AL East on Wednesday, so they don’t need to rush Pomeranz along. And using him out of the bullpen might ultimately be best as he regressed quite a bit after coming to Boston from San Diego in July. In 13 starts with the Red Sox, Pomeranz has a 4.68 ERA with a 69/24 K/BB ratio in 67 1/3 innings.
Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz have been throwing the ball quite well as of late. Paired with Rick Porcello and David Price, the Red Sox still have the depth to be menacing in the postseason.
Remember Jesus Montero? The former Yankees and Mariners prospect? Well, he was picked up by the Blue Jays back in March after the Mariners waived him and played 126 games for Triple-A Buffalo this year. That went alright, I suppose, with Montero hitting .317/.349/.438 with 11 homers. He played a bit of first base too, trying to break the mold he’s been stuck in as a 26-year-old DH.
If this season was a platform for him to make one last push to the bigs, the platform was just pulled out from under him: he has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The minor league season is over, of course, so he’ll serve that suspension next season. Assuming the Jays keep him in the fold.