A.J. Burnett exits start in the fifth inning with groin soreness

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The Phillies may be in danger of losing another starting pitcher to injury. A.J. Burnett winced after throwing a pitch to Casey McGehee in the top of the fifth inning during Friday night’s start against the Marlins. After walking McGehee to load the bases, the Phillies’ trainer visited Burnett and the right-hander left the game, giving way to reliever Jake Diekman. Diekman was able to escape Burnett’s jam with two strikeouts.

Burnett’s Phillies career has not gotten off to a good start. After a successful debut in red pinstripes, Burnett walked six batters in back-to-back starts including Friday against the Marlins. Prior to the season, the last time Burnett walked six in a game was on July 18, 2011. In total, Burnett has a 3.94 ERA, but has walked 14 and struck out 10 batters in 16 innings.

We should get word on Burnett’s status soon. We’ll update you here.

Update (9:15 PM EST): Burnett exited with groin soreness, per David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. He was taken out for precautionary reasons.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?