Burnett, Girardi exchange words after another dismal effort

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Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett was pulled from Saturday evening’s 9-4 loss to the Twins after allowing five hits, three walks and seven earned runs in less than two innings of work. A normal major league starter would hang his head after such an effort and find a spot near the end of the dugout bench to soak in the rest of the game. Not Burnett.

After handing the ball off to Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Burnett delivered a curse word (bullsh–) over his shoulder and headed directly into the visitor’s clubhouse at Minnesota’s Target Field. Girardi later followed him down the steps, presumably to ask Burnett what exactly he considered to be “bullsh–.”

Girardi played down the incident in his postgame press conference and actually took offense to the media’s interest in his relationship with Burnett. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News has the quotes:

“You can write what you want, you can say what you want, but he was pissed because he thought he struck out Joe Mauer (on a called ball four; it was Burnett’s last batter),” Girardi said. “I asked if they thought it was a strike and the guys said they thought it was a strike.”

“This is silly; this is really, really silly. You know what? We had a fistfight, is what we had,” Girardi continued, sarcastically. “I came in and looked at the pitch. Our video room is right down there. Everyone always seems to want to blow it up about A.J., A.J., A.J.; nothing happened between me and A.J.; I went and looked at the pitch.”

Girardi is right for defending his player, and is right to want to keep his interpersonal relationships out of the media, but does Burnett really deserve such gentle treatment? The 34-year-old has surrendered 21 runs and 35 hits in his last 17 2/3 innings, yet has the audacity to show up his manager when lifted from a poor outing.
Burnett will earn $16.5 million annually through the end of 2013 and carries a 10-team no-trade clause.

The St. Louis Cardinals announce their first Pride Night

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The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they will hold their first Pride Night on August 25th.

A lot of teams have Pride Nights, but it’s worth noting that the Cardinals are holding one given some bad press — some fair, some unfair — they have received in recent years when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion.

Earlier this month the club received criticism from the LGBT community due to Lance Berkman’s presence for the team’s annual Christian Day, given his past comments about transgender people and his participation in a Houston political campaign over access to public restrooms. Recently, a former Cardinals minor league player claimed he left baseball after enduring anti-gay comments from his coaches and teammates.

As club president Bill DeWitt III noted in the official announcement however, the Cardinals have hosted LGBT groups in the past. He says that the club is eager to “remind fans that everyone is welcome at Busch Stadium.” He notes that the event will raise money for the PrideSTL Scholarship Fund which, in DeWitt’s words, “help courageous students in our community.”

Nice move, Cardinals.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.