Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A.J. Deserves A Clean Slate

Throughout much of the winter and in the early stages of spring training, the Twitter world has been awash with comments ripping A.J. Burnett. There's no doubt that the enigmatic right-hander had a miserable 2010 season, but it's a new year, a new season, and time to wipe the slate clean.

It really doesn't matter what Burnett did last year or the year before that for that matter when he had some big wins in helping the Yankees to their 27th World Series title. Obviously Burnett will be pitching under a microscope this season. He's got a new pitching coach, a new catcher (no more blaming Posada for his troubles- even if it wasn't necessarily him doing the finger pointing), and a new season.

Larry Rothschild worked with Burnett in Florida and knows that one of his primary roles as Dave Eiland's replacement is to try to get Burnett back on track. Actually it would great if Burnett could get on an even better track than the inconsistent one that has been the hallmark of his career. Reporters asked Rothschild yesterday about the confidence issue.
“It’s a chicken and egg question,” new pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “Is the confidence there because of success or is success there because he’s doing things right mechanically and gets confidence? I think we’ll attack it right now to get him in line to the plate. Get him comfortable throwing the ball, and I think he’ll get the confidence and demeanor that he should have.”
For his part Burnett is completely confident this spring, at least publicly. He also recognizes his shortcomings last year. This was Burnett's response to reporter's questioning his current state of mind and his poor performance last year:
I’m a force out there. Guys don’t want to face me. I just felt like guys didn’t care if they faced me (last year). I feel like I gave them that edge… I came here to win. I came here to pitch. I came here to be behind Big Man (CC Sabathia). And I wasn’t last year.
Time to let Burnett try to be that guy again.

Catching News

Jorge Posada is still recovering from knee surgery, so he won't be putting on the foil, er catching equipment until next week. Posada does have a hunch though- that Andy Pettitte will be back at some point this year. Posada isn't speaking from anything he knows, it's just a hunch.

toh to @dp57 and @joepawl - the NY Post's George King reported that Gary Sanchez hasn't taken part in any catching drills yet after undergo heart tests. The results of which showed nothing. The question is why were they done in the first place? Sanchez is among the highest rated catching prospects in baseball and is targeted to start the season in Charleston.

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