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Back in the Swing of Things

Man, Chad Jennings does a good job at Lo-Hud. Here’s some highlights from yesterday’s Yankee camp, including this bit from Russell Martin on A.J. Burnett:

“I think sometimes he would let negative thoughts get into his mind and they would affect him a little bit. It wasn’t the fact that he didn’t care or anything; he probably cared more than anybody. He’s just very hard on himself and sometimes over-critical, and when you do that, sometimes you just go the wrong way. That’s what happened with him sometimes; he was over-critical of himself instead of just simplifying the game. He would listen to everybody trying to help him out, and when you do that, it becomes chaotic. I think that’s what was happening in his mind.”

I wasn’t sorry to see Burnett go. He was frustrating to watch but I never hated him. Yeah, the pie thing was silly, but Burnett didn’t seem like a punk. Guy wasn’t Carl Pavano. He was exactly the dude they signed,  fine in 2009 but I don’t think anyone was surprised how he performed the last two years. I don’t have any hard feelings, do you?

[Photo Credit: Matt Slocum/AP]

Categories:  1: Featured  Spring Training  Yankees

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1 Jon DeRosa   ~  Feb 21, 2012 9:07 am

You weren't surprised he was one of the two or three worst pitchers in all of baseball over the last two years?

2 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 21, 2012 9:19 am

Not really. I expected him to be a major flop. I don't know that I thought about it in terms of the worst, but I can't say it comes as a surprise. Especially after Pavano.

3 rbj   ~  Feb 21, 2012 9:53 am

No hard feelings. To me, it seemed that he tried, but just couldn't put it together. He's still a better pitcher than I am.

4 Jon DeRosa   ~  Feb 21, 2012 9:55 am

[2] Most of the hand-wringing about AJ's contract was due to his track record of getting hurt and the likelihood of decline at the end of the deal. He'd always been decent to very good as long as he was on the hill for a whole year.

If you were sure that AJ was going to be an awful pitcher, get thee to a baseball front office (preferably the yanks) and give them a hand, they need your skills!

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 21, 2012 9:57 am

I'll just say we got more out of AJ then I ever dreamed we would've in the winter of 2008, so for that alone I'm fine with him.

On any championship team you have the guys who contributed and the guys who were just along for the ride. AJ, unlike a Kenny Rogers or a Denny Neagle, legitimately contributed to 2009. For that alone I gotta say I'd probably do it again.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 21, 2012 10:07 am

I just followed Cliff's lead on that. He was out of his mind about that deal.

7 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 21, 2012 10:12 am

[6] haha I remember that, it seemed like he was personally offended by it on some level.

8 Jon DeRosa   ~  Feb 21, 2012 10:20 am

[6] Oh, OK. Then get Cliff to a Front Office. AJ was a decent pitcher, he turned into straight shit. The second worst (qualified) starter by ERA and third worst by FIP for the combined 2010-11 seasons. I found that surprising.

9 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 21, 2012 11:54 am

[7] Hhahahah!

10 Dillon   ~  Feb 21, 2012 2:23 pm

Frustrating as he was at times, there is no way I could have hard feelings against AJ. 1)I still remember how dominating he pitched AGAINST us as a Blue Jay, however many times a year, and while there's no stat for it, I think it could be argues his in-season stinkers were a wash against the games we would've lost against the Jays. 2) I'm sure I'm not the only who gets tired of all non-Yankee rhetoric that we're a mercenary and piecemeal assemblage of superstars with no team chemistry. And while I myself never want to give that notion any credence, I attribute a lot of 2009's success to the levity guys like AJ and Swisher brought to the clubhouse. I think it relaxed the team as a whole, and the Yanks seemed to function better that year.

For that, AJ, no hard feelings.

11 rbs   ~  Feb 21, 2012 5:35 pm

I won't miss A.J., but neither am I overjoyed to see him leave.

As someone was quoted in the Lohud post that Alex cited, no one was harder on A.J. for a crap performance than he was himself. Plus he was stand-up about talking to the press about it. Definitely no Pavano, or Kenny Rogers (either his Yankees or his Mets incarnation).

The pie thing may have been silly, but having a couple subversive types like A.J. and Swish on the team really helps prevent the whole button-down guys-in-suits aura that the team as a whole so often projects.

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