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Burnett and Posada playing together nicely

New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, right, talks

New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, right, talks with starting pitcher A.J. Burnett during the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays. (March 6, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

LAKELAND, Fla. - After a tough outing in Boston last Aug. 22, A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada spent the latter part of last season trying to convince everyone they didn't despise each other.

Still, even though the pair has insisted there was never any real problem between them, Burnett said Saturday that the perception hurt.

"I think that whole Boston thing kind of got to both of us," said Burnett, who also used the word "destructive" in describing the impact of that outing, in which he gave up three home runs and a career-worst nine earned runs in five innings in a 14-1 loss to the Red Sox.

After allowing a home run by David Ortiz on a fastball in that game, Burnett appeared to be mouthing the words "Why? Why? Why?'' That was taken as a criticism of Posada's pitch selection, but Burnett has said he was directing the anger at himself.

He said yesterday, "Even though we talked about it and knew that it wasn't about him and it wasn't about me, the whole thing blew up so much that while it didn't affect us, you keep it in the back of your mind. So to be able to come here and work with him and throw to him every start . . . it's different."

Burnett spoke after his best outing of spring training. Pitching to Posada, he allowed one run and three hits in 62/3 innings in a 2-1 win over the Tigers. Burnett was especially pleased because although his curveball, his best pitch, was off, he credited his effectiveness to Posada.

"Anybody can tell you when my hook's not on, it's going to be a longer day, but it wasn't on today," he said. "I give a lot of props to Jorgie back there. He worked good back there. Gave me some early targets and I was in a really good rhythm from pitch one. It was fun to work today."

Burnett, who has been working on his changeup throughout spring training, didn't throw any because of his problems with the curve. "There were a few opportunities where I could have thrown it, but we were trying to get that hook over because it was pretty much not there today," Burnett said. "We just wanted to get that down."

Heating up?

Outfielder Marcus Thames entered Friday hitting .094, but he had a hit off lefthander Jamie Moyer that night, then added a walk and a home run off lefty Nate Robertson yesterday.

"It felt better," Thames said. "I hadn't put a good charge in one all spring. I know I still have it, but I'd been fighting myself a little bit. It's in there. Just a matter of time for me to do it consistently."

 

Ringing in 2009

TMZ reported the Yankees will receive their rings before the home opener April 13. "It's going to be great," Burnett said. "I can't wait to be there with the crowd and their reaction. That's going to be more important than the ring, I think. To get that at home in front of everybody and let them enjoy it as much as we do."

 

OF decision coming soon

Joe Girardi expects to officially announce his leftfield/centerfield decision by Tuesday. It's expected that Curtis Granderson will be in center and Brett Gardner in left, which was the alignment used yesterday.

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