After a dreadful month of June, A.J. Burnett will return to the mound tomorrow afternoon, happy to have finally reached July. Pitching coach Dave Eiland is back in the fold, and Burnett said he felt more like himself in this week’s bullpen session.
“I felt like I got to throw a bullpen finally,” Burnett said. “I felt like my last Tuesday bullpen was what everybody else wanted me to try and not what A.J. wanted to do. Sometimes you’ve got to be selfish. We went in the pen and I told them what we were going to do, and that’s what we did. It was as good as all the other days so it’s a matter of taking it out to the field.”
It’s the last line that seems most important. Burnett said last month that his bullpen session felt good, but he wasn’t able to carry it onto the field during his starts. As he struggled, he dug himself into a hole.
“When you’re scuffling like that you want to get help,” he said. “You don’t want to be the guy that blocks everybody out (and thinks) I can figure this out on my own. Obviously that wasn’t the case.”
Here’s Burnett talking about tomorrow’s start.
Associated Press photo of Burnett