New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett got off to a bad start against Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon. He gave up a two-run home run to Reid Brignac with two outs in the second inning which put the Rays ahead 3-0. After getting out of the inning, he did a lot more damage.
Burnett, who took the loss in Tampa Bay’s 10-5 win, was not very happy with his performance in the second inning and suffered two lacerations on the palms of both hands when he slammed them into the clubhouse door. The lacerations did not require stitches and he will not miss his next start.
“He’s got a Band-Aid on both hands but nothing leads me to believe he won’t make his next start,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ve talked to our training staff, I’ve talked to our doctor and they all believe he’ll be OK.”
Even though the lacerations were not that bad, they were enough to get Burnett pulled after facing just two batters in the third inning. Girardi allowed him to go ahead and start the inning, but he did not last long. He hit Evan Longoria who was the first batter of the inning. Then he threw a wild pitch which allowed Longoria to advance to second and followed with an RBI single to Carlos Pena. Yankees trainer Gene Monahan and Girardi immediately came out to visit Burnett and the decision was made to make a change.
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“After those two hitters, I didn’t think he had the command he thought he would,” Girardi said.
Burnett (7-8, 4.99 ERA) had just one strike out and gave up four runs on four hits on Saturday. After a terrible month of June where he went 0-5 with an 11.35 ERA, he had pitched well in his previous two outings this month. But Burnett has just one win in his last eight starts.
“I’ve been so good lately,” a contrite Burnett said. “But I guess you get a reality check around here every once in a while.”
The Yankees will conclude their series with Tampa Bay on Sunday and an off-day on Monday should allow Burnett’s hands to heal in time before his next scheduled start on Friday against the Kansas City Royals. The Yankees (57-33) are in first in the American League West and despite the loss, they still hols a two-game lead over Tampa Bay.