44° Good Afternoon
44° Good Afternoon

Burnett introduces ball to backstop

Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett walks to the dugout

Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett walks to the dugout after allowing a five-run second-inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in a spring training game in Clearwater, Fla. on Monday. (Mar. 22, 2010) Credit: AP

CLEARWATER, Fla. - A.J. Burnett was a little off against the Phillies yesterday. But a pitch he threw clear to the backstop on a fly wasn't part of that.

Burnett, who allowed five runs in the first inning before throwing three scoreless frames, said he saw catcher Francisco Cervelli shift his body as he was getting ready to throw the pitch and thought he was going to cross up his batterymate. So he got mixed up in his delivery and threw one that Bob Uecker would say was "just a bit outside."

Burnett is well-known for throwing a warmup pitch through the window of a van carrying mascot Billy the Marlin when he was with Florida in 2001. He has said he did that on purpose; the clip is shown in every big-league ballpark.

Burnett's final line Monday was four innings, seven hits, five runs, three walks, four strikeouts, one hit batter and one very wild toss. The Phillies beat the Yankees, 9-7.

Hoffmann gone

Rule 5 draft pick Jamie Hoffmann cleared outright waivers and was returned to the Dodgers. The righthanded-hitting outfielder hit .130 in 23 spring training at-bats. The Yankees traded Brian Bruney to Washington for the right to pick Hoffmann.

Hoffmann's departure increases the chance that Marcus Thames will make the Opening Day roster. Thames is batting .107, which is probably why manager Joe Girardi would not commit to adding the veteran outfielder to the roster just yet.

"We still have guys in camp that we're looking at," he said. "As I've said all along, Marcus has the most experience in that situation against lefthanders and has a proven track record."

Extra bases

Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada got the day completely off, giving them two days in a row; the Yankees are off Tuesday . . . Intrasquad game notes: Mariano Rivera threw one inning (one hit, one strikeout) . . . Chan Ho Park faced eight batters and struck out five . . . David Robertson faced five batters and struck out three . . . Damaso Marte made his second appearance of spring training (six batters, four outs).

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