During A.J. Burnett's mea culpa to the gathered media after he cut his hands while angrily shoving open clubhouse doors Saturday, the first words out of his mouth when asked the motive were: "Frustration. You know, I'm not the first person to do it."
Yankees fans know that all too well.
Righthander Kevin Brown broke his non-pitching hand while punching a clubhouse wall in September 2004, an injury that certainly didn't help the Yankees' postseason plans.
After three weeks off, Brown pitched twice more in the regular season and got a start in the ALDS, with mixed results. In the ALCS against Boston, he started two games and allowed eight earned runs in 31/3 innings.
He was the Game 7 starter for the Yankees who loaded the bases before Johnny Damon hit a grand slam off reliever Javier Vazquez to complete the Red Sox's historic comeback from a three-games-to-none deficit.
General manager Brian Cashman had no problem taking Brown to task after he injured himself. "You just can't do this, there's no doubt about it," he said at the time. "You've got to keep your emotions in check. It's a major issue that we shouldn't be dealing with. It's a problem."
"Certainly uncalled for and unnecessary,'' Joe Torre said then.
"Stupidity,'' Brown said at the time. "I reacted to frustration I'd swallowed all year . . . There are no excuses. I let it boil over and I did something stupid. I owe my teammates an apology for letting my emotions take over like that.''
But the list of pitchers taking out their frustration on themselves is not limited to the two Yankees righthanders.
Jason Isringhausen broke his right wrist punching a garbage can while on a minor-league rehab assignment for the Mets in 1997. Doyle Alexander broke a knuckle after punching a wall at the Kingdome in 1982, an injury that cost him two months. Mets pitcher Pat Zachry broke his toe kicking the dugout steps in 1978 after giving up a hit that allowed Pete Rose to tie for the longest hitting streak in NL history.
So while Burnett was wrong to let his frustrations get the best of him, he certainly was right in one regard: he wasn't the first.