Two weeks ago Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage said he was assuming that A.J. Burnett will retire, but the 37-year-old right-hander has yet to make a decision with less than a month until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Searage reached out to Burnett in an effort to learn of his plans, but hasn’t heard back. General manager Neal Huntington has been speaking to Burnett’s agent, referring to the situation as “still working through the process.”
Burnett indicated early in the offseason that he’ll either call it quits or re-sign with the Pirates, which means Pittsburgh must be willing to spend another $10-$15 million in payroll and boot someone from the current rotation if he opts to return. They’d gladly do both given that Burnett was one of the best pitchers in the league last season, but it’s still putting the team in a tough spot.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
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: