Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A.J.'s Awesome Spring Break

I never put much value on spring training performances, but it's important to note those players that are trying to improve from the prior year. Especially when said year was miserable. Such was the case for A.J. Burnett, who over the winter tweeked his mechanics with new pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

Burnett says he no longer has to think about the change in his leg kick and his physical adjustments, and so far the pay off has been great. Will it remain that way? Who knows, but for now you have a pitcher that was clueless in 2010 feeling confident in 2011.
"I didn't want to go one inning, give up four homers, come out and say, 'It's just my second start,'" Burnett said. "The fact that I was in control, the fact that the last batter I faced, the last five pitches were all down-and-away in the perfect spot, I'm able to repeat easier. My mind is clear. I'm not thinking about this or that; I'm just attacking."

Yesterday Burnett retired all nine batters he faced in the Yankees 7-1 win over the Phillies. That gave him five scoreless innings for the spring, in which he has allowed just two hits and, more importantly, has not walked a batter.

Freddy Garcia makes his second spring start against the Braves this afternoon. Garcia and Ivan Nova are the front runners for the #4 and 5 spots in the rotation, but Bartolo Colon continued to make a case for himself when he tossed three scoreless innings last Friday against Boston.

Eduardo Nunez contined his quest for the utility infield spot with a 3-run HR off Roy Oswalt on Monday.

Mark Prior tossed a scoreless inning in his second inning of work.

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