A.J. Burnett doesn't duck many questions, that's for sure. Especially when they call for self-introspection.
And so this was his answer today when a reporter asked Burnett why, given all the success he's had in his career, he's working so hard this spring on developing a third pitch -- his changeup.
“I don’t feel like I’ve had the success I should have,” said Burnett, 100-85 in his career. “I’m a .500 pitcher and there’s a reason for that. I know I’ve battled injuries in the past, but over three-quarters of my career I’m a two-pitch pitcher so there’s got to be some theory behind it so why not learn another pitch? It’s only going to help. Well, it’s not learn, I’ve always had it, but why not use another pitch?”
Burnett, who threw just fastballs and changeups today, said he was mostly pleased with the pitch today and drew some reaction from hitters in both both dugouts when he threw it.
“You get the look from the hitter like, what was that?” Burnett said. “The guys in the dugout over here were like, is that a cutter?”
Jorge Posada said the pitch, if Burnett develops confidence to use consistently, has the potential to be particularly effective.
“It’s going to be 90, 91-mph,” Posada said. “It’s going to be five to six mph less than his fastball…He’s an overpowering fastball guy and we can’t get away from that, but having a third pitch is going to keep the hitters off balance, that’s the biggest thing.”
*** Joe Girardi said Francisco Cervelli would see the team’s physician, Dr. Andrew Boyer, Sunday and will see a neurologist Monday.
Cervelli was scheduled to take the two-plus hour bus trip to Fort Myers for Sunday’s game against the Twins but Mike Rivera will now make the trip.
Girardi said “maybe Tuesday or Wednesday” for Cervelli’s return, though there is concern because Cervelli also suffered a concussion in winter ball last November.
“It’s a concern,” Girardi said. “Anytime you start talking about injuries to the head like that you’re concerned about it. He’s feeling ok now but you worry about it. It’s scary.”