Results tagged ‘ A.J. Burnett ’

Tuesday’s Game Postponed

Nationals Phillies BaseballThe Phillies postponed tonight’s game against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park because of rain.

It will be made up at a later date.

The postponement does not alter the order of the Phillies rotation. Left-hander Cliff Lee will pitch tomorrow night, while right-hander A.J. Burnett will pitch the series finale Thursday afternoon. Right-handers Jonathan Pettibone, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez would fall in line to pitch this weekend in Colorado.

But the Braves have skipped right-hander David Hale, who was scheduled to pitch tonight. Lee instead will face right-hander Julio Teheran and Burnett will face left-hander Alex Wood.

Perhaps a night off will help the Phillies starters get on track. They have pitched more than six innings just twice in 13 games, which has placed additional pressure on a bullpen with the third-highest ERA (5.53) in baseball.

Phillies starters are 22nd in baseball in innings pitched, but are seventh in pitches thrown. It is partially why Phillies games are averaging 3 hours, 17 minutes, which is the third-longest average in baseball.

“For me, the game starts with pitching and defense,” Ryne Sandberg said in his office before the postponement. “I think overall our pitchers have to establish the strike zone and work ahead in the counts. I think that has a big part in why we’re playing the slowest games and longest games in baseball. Every time I look at the clock and leave (the ballpark), it’s almost midnight. I can’t believe it, but it is what it is.

“Our pitchers are throwing a lot of pitches, so on the starting pitching side of things they’ve been limited on the time that they can be out there and then we’ve had to use our bullpen and then with some of our bullpen guys it has been the same thing with the amount of pitches coming out of the pen.”

The Phillies planned to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day tonight, but pregame festivities surrounding the Jackie Robinson Salute will take place tomorrow night, including both teams wearing No. 42 jerseys. All fans attending tomorrow night’s game will receive the commemorative Jackie Robinson print, featuring quotes from Phillies players and Sandberg on what Robinson meant to them.

Burnett Plans to Pitch with Hernia

Bob McClure, Carlos RuizA.J. Burnett will need surgery at some point, but he said today he plans to pitch the rest of the season with an inguinal hernia.

Burnett received a cortisone injection today and is scheduled to start Wednesday.

“It’s something that I think is manageable,” he said.

And what makes it manageable?

“I guess manageable is that I’m going to have to deal with it,” he said. “Paying attention to it, knowing it’s there, knowing what I can do to overdo it and knowing what I can do to keep it where it needs to be. I’m more of a go getter and I’m not really a take it easy kind of guy, so it’s going to be a test.”

Burnett had to be pulled from Friday’s start in the fifth inning because of discomfort, but he said, “I’ve pitched with worse. The other night was more of an uncertainty because I didn’t know where it was coming from. I didn’t know if it was hip, groin, whether I tweaked something or pulled something. Now that I know upstairs what I’m dealing with, I can deal with it a lot better.”

Cole Hamels pitched with same injury in 2011 before having surgery in the offseason. He went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 32 appearances (31 starts) and finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award voting.

In a perfect world Burnett performs similarly to Hamels in 2011, and waits until the offseason to surgically repair it as recovery can take six to eight weeks. Burnett said he is confident he still can pitch like he had the past couple seasons with the Pirates, when he went 26-21 with a 3.41 ERA in 61 starts.

Burnett is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three starts this season. In 16 innings, he has allowed 17 hits, 11 runs (seven earned runs) and 14 walks with 10 strikeouts.

“It could be a blessing in disguise and I pay attention more to my delivery,” he said. “The two pitches I felt it in my bullpen (Sunday) is when my timing was a tick off. I flew open early or something was off. But when I nailed my delivery in the next 15, it was fine. I’m not worried about it now that today happened. I talked to the doctors and had my questions answered. How severe is it? Can it get really, really worse?”

Can it?

“It can get larger,” he said. “But as far as pain wise, they said it would be the same. Uncomfortable.”

But surgery will come at some point. He knows that. He just hopes it’s not until after the season.

Burnett Hopes for Good News Monday

Bob McClure, Carlos RuizA.J. Burnett should know tomorrow if he will make Wednesday’s scheduled start against the Braves.

He will have an ultrasound in the morning to see if he has a sore groin or possibly something worse.

“I feel good, but I want my mind to be 100 percent,” he said about the ultrasound. “Let’s just hope it’s not a hernia or something. That’s what I’m worried about. Tomorrow will give me peace of mind. But as far as physically, today was a good day today. A lot better.”

Burnett left Friday’s start against the Marlins in the fifth inning because of soreness in his right groin. He threw a bullpen session this morning at Citizens Bank Park. He said it went better than expected, although he twice felt a pull in the muscle while throwing out of the stretch.

“It went away right after that,” he said. “I’m feeling good enough to throw.”

If Burnett misses a start or more they could use Triple-A right-hander David Buchanan. He pitched just one inning today, which keeps him fresh should he be needed Wednesday. Buchanan is not on the 40-man roster, but they made room on the 40-man Saturday when they outrighted right-hander Brad Lincoln to Lehigh Valley.

Burnett Goes Down, How Long?

Bob McClure, Carlos RuizCole Hamels could rejoin the Phillies’ rotation as early as April 22.

But will A.J. Burnett be there with him?

Burnett left last night’s game against the Marlins in the fifth inning with what the team called “groin soreness.” He will be evaluated today. The right-hander said his right groin affected him intermittently throughout the game, in which he allowed two runs on five hits and six walks while striking out four in 4 1/3 innings.

“It was in and out,” Burnett said. “It was pretty uncomfortable the last inning, but it came on early and went away. That’s why I didn’t feel like it was too serious.

“Pretty much every pitch out of the stretch, more so out of the windup, the last inning I felt it a lot. That ain’t me. I don’t walk guys like that. I’m going to walk my guys here and there, but I couldn’t throw the ball anywhere I wanted to. Hopefully we’ll find out tomorrow that it’s not that bad.”

Burnett, 37, also walked six batters in 5 2/3 innings in his previous start Sunday at Wrigley Field, but he said he did not have any problems before Friday’s start.

“I’d just say it felt more snug that anything,” he said. “Like everything was tight, opposed to something going. I guess that’s a positive. I tried to mask it, but I guess I didn’t, huh? … I’m not too concerned about it, but then again, you never know. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. But it takes a lot to get me out of the ballgame. I’m not happy about that.”

It’s Official: Burnett Signs $16 Million Deal

burnettThe A.J. Burnett deal is official.

The Phillies announced this morning they have signed Burnett to a one-year, $16 million deal, which includes a mutual/player option, bonuses and a limited no-trade clause.

Burnett will speak to reporters after today’s workout at Carpenter Complex.

“To be able to add a pitcher of A.J.’s caliber at this time of year says a lot about our ownership group’s commitment to winning,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. “A.J. will complement Cole (Hamels) and Cliff (Lee) in our rotation and adds another experienced arm to our team.”

If everybody is healthy, Burnett, 37, projects to slot atop the rotation with Hamels and Lee. Burnett went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA in 30 starts last season with the Pirates. He led the big leagues in ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio (2.62), which should help at cozy Citizens Bank Park. Burnett also led the National League with 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He has made at least 30 starts for the sixth consecutive season.

“I have met him quite a few times when he was with Toronto,” Hamels said last week. “He’s got unbelievable talent. Unfortunately, I think he kept us away from another ring [in the 2009 World Series]. What he brings to the table is great. If we’re able to get him, it only helps us out. It doesn’t hurt us. He’s another veteran who has good experience and a good repertoire. I know he is pretty charismatic. He would be good for us.”

Burnett’s $16 million salary could push the Phillies to a franchise-record payroll following an 89-loss season in 2013. They finished 2012 at a record $174.5 million, according to figures sent from the Commissioner’s Office to teams for luxury-tax purposes. That figure includes the average annual value of contracts, more than $10 million for benefits and extended benefits, bonuses and more.

Figure Burnett’s $16 million salary into the mix, and the Phils’ payroll alone is about $174 million, with the luxury-tax threshold now at $189 million.

So why Burnett? The payroll actually might have something to do with it.

The Phillies already are heavily invested in players like Hamels, Lee, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Jimmy Rollins and others. The front office believes if the team is healthy, it will win. If that is the case and the Phils are all-in, why not spend more to improve the rotation?

The rotation had its share of concerns following Hamels and Lee, and now Hamels is behind schedule after feeling discomfort in his throwing shoulder around Thanksgiving, which resulted in left biceps tendinitis. Hamels said he is not worried, is pain-free and expects to be pitching in a regular-season game in April.

Kyle Kendrick had a 6.45 ERA in his final 14 starts last season before finishing the campaign on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Roberto Hernandez signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December, but he has a 5.19 ERA over 67 appearances (59 starts) the past three seasons. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Jonathan Pettibone and others will also be getting looks as starters this spring.

Burnett will wear No. 34, which Roy Halladay wore the past four seasons.

To make room for Burnett on the 40-man roster, left-hander Joe Savery has been designated for assignment.

Source: Phils, Burnett Agree to 1-Year Deal

burnettCole Hamels will not be ready to pitch by Opening Day, but reinforcements are on the way.

A source said this morning the Phillies have agreed to a one-year, $16 million contract with right-hander A.J. Burnett.

It includes a mutual option for 2015 and a limited no-trade clause.

If everybody is healthy, Burnett, 37, projects atop the rotation with Hamels and Cliff Lee. Burnett went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA in 30 starts last season with the Pirates. He led the big leagues in ground ball-to-fly ball ratio (2.62), which should help at cozy Citizens Bank Park. He also led the National League with 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

“I have met him quite a few times when he was with Toronto,” Hamels said before news broke about the deal. “He’s got unbelievable talent. Unfortunately, I think he kept us away from another ring (in 2009 World Series). What he brings to the table is great. If we’re able to get him, it only helps us out. It doesn’t hurt us. He’s another veteran who has good experience and a good repertoire. I know he is pretty charismatic. He would be good for us.”

Interestingly, Burnett’s $16 million salary could push the Phillies to a franchise-record payroll following an 89-loss season in 2013. They finished 2012 at a record $174.5 million, according to figures sent from the commissioner’s office to teams for luxury tax purposes. That figure includes the average annual value of contracts, more than $10 million for benefits and extended benefits, bonuses and more.

Figure Burnett’s $16 million salary into the mix, and the Phillies payroll alone is about $174 million with the luxury tax now $189 million.

So why Burnett? The payroll actually might have something to do with it.

The Phillies already are heavily invested in players like Hamels, Lee, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Jimmy Rollins and others. The front office believes if the team is healthy it will win. If that is the case and the Phillies are all-in, why not spend more to improve the rotation?

The rotation had its share of concerns following Hamels and Lee, and now Hamels is behind schedule after feeling discomfort in his throwing shoulder around Thanksgiving. Hamels said he is not worried, is pain free and expects to be pitching in a regular-season game in April, but players often put on rose-colored glasses when speaking about their health.

But Kyle Kendrick had a 6.45 ERA in his final 14 starts last season before finishing the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Roberto Hernandez signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December, but has a 5.19 ERA over 67 appearances (59 starts) the past three seasons. The No. 5 job projected to be a competition between Miguel Gonzalez and Jonathan Pettibone. The Phillies have tempered expectations for Gonzalez, who signed a three-year, $12 million deal last summer.

Talks with Burnett Ain’t Dead Yet

burnettThe Phillies indicated late last week they did not expect to sign anybody before Spring Training opens Thursday in Clearwater, Fla.

But sources said tonight the Phillies are very much still in the running for free agent right-hander A.J. Burnett.

It is unclear if the parties are close to a deal, but the chances have improved since Friday when Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “It’s more likely we’ll go (into Spring Training) with what we’ve got.”

If the Phillies and Burnett agree to a deal – the Pirates seem to be their top competition — he would become the rotation’s No. 3 behind Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Kyle Kendrick also has a spot in the rotation. Roberto Hernandez signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December. Entering camp Amaro indicated Miguel Gonzalez, Jonathan Pettibone and others would fight for the No. 5 spot.

Burnett Sounds Unlikely, Phils to Watch Madson

Manuel Likes Myers in 8th, Madson in 9thRuben Amaro Jr. said this morning he will continue to look for ways to improve the Phillies roster, but with pitchers and catchers holding their first workout at Carpenter Complex in six days any significant additions seem unlikely.

“It’s more likely we’ll go in with what we’ve got,” Amaro said.

The Phillies have been talking with free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett, but the Pirates and Orioles also are top suitors.

But the Phillies will be one team watching former closer Ryan Madson throw today in Arizona. Madson has not pitched since 2011 because of Tommy John surgery and complications following the surgery, but when he has been healthy he has been one of the top relievers in baseball.

“There are several guys in that boat,” Amaro said. “We’ll have our eyes on these guys who are working on coming back from an injury or surgery.”

It is unclear if Madson is looking for a guaranteed Major League contract, and if so if that would scare away the Phillies.

The Phillies also have been looking for a backup center fielder. Currently, John Mayberry Jr. and Tony Gwynn Jr. are two top candidates for that job.

“There aren’t a chock full of opportunities,” Amaro said. “It’s a possibility, but as I said we’ll probably go with what we’ve got and see what happens over the course of the spring.”

Phillies Need Burnett

burnettSo it seems the Phillies are interested in A.J. Burnett.

They should be, and if the price is right they should jump on it.

Here is the thing: the Phillies already have committed hundreds of millions of dollars to players like Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Papelbon and Carlos Ruiz. You spend that kind of money because you expect to win and fill seats at Citizens Bank Park. But this rotation has question marks following Hamels and Lee. Kyle Kendrick had a 3.22 ERA after his first 13 starts last season, but posted a 6.45 ERA in his final 14 before finishing the season on the disabled list. They certainly need the first half Kendrick to return, or at least something close to it. The Phillies signed Roberto Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5 million deal, but he has a 5.19 ERA over 67 appearances (59 starts) the past three seasons. He pitched so poorly last year the Rays bumped him from the rotation to the bullpen, but at the moment he is a lock for the rotation.

Hernandez was the Phillies’ most puzzling offseason move, in my opinion.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Jonathan Pettibone currently are the top two candidates for the No. 5 job. Gonzalez is a mystery. The Phillies and Gonzalez agreed to a $48 million deal in July, which meant Phillies scouts and executives believed he was at worst a No. 3 starter. But after an issue with his physical he signed a $12 million deal. And ever since then the Phillies have hit the brakes on any expectations for him. From $48 million to $12 million to competing with Pettibone, Ethan Martin and Chad Gaudin for the fifth spot. He is a huge wild card.

But back to Burnett. If the Phillies have committed hundreds of millions of dollars because they think they can win, why not bring in Burnett? Why not spend a little more? He would stabilize the rotation as a solid No. 3. Kendrick would fall behind him at No. 4, and then you can figure out the No. 5 spot with Hernandez, Gonzalez and Pettibone. The only reason not to pursue Burnett would be if the Phillies recognize they need numerous things to break exactly right to have a chance to win, therefore consider whatever Burnett might cost to be too much of a risk.

In other words, Burnett only makes a difference if A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and J go right this season. And what are the chances of that happening?

But if the Phillies truly believe Howard is healthy and will be effective, Rollins will be more motivated and bounce back, Papelbon can be effective despite diminished stuff, etc., then Burnett will help. And they should get him into camp.

Lee Puts Up Zeroes

Cliff Lee threw his fifth shutout of the season last night at AT&T Park. If that seems like a lot, it is. He is one of just four pitchers since 1998 to throw five or more shutouts in a season:

  • A.J. Burnett: five in 2002.
  • Dontrelle Willis: five in 2005.
  • CC Sabathia: five in 2008.

If Lee can throw one more shutout before the end of the season, he would be just the 12th pitcher in the last 30 seasons to throw six or more shutouts:

  • John Tudor: 10 in 1985.
  • Tim Belcher: eight in 1989.
  • Roger Clemens: eight in 1988.
  • Dwight Gooden: eight in 1985.
  • Orel Hershiser: eight in 1988.
  • Roger Clemens: seven in 1987.
  • Steve Carlton: six in 1982.
  • Danny Jackson: six in 1988.
  • Randy Johnson: six in 1998.
  • Tim Leary: six in 1988.
  • Jack Morris: six in 1986.

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