When the Yankees setup a simulated game, they try to make everything as real as possible. It doesn’t more real than this: A.J. Burnett plunked two batters today. He got Greg Golson early, then he hit Austin Kearns late.
“It’s different when it’s our guys,” Burnett said. “They know I didn’t mean to do it. It’s not a good feeling, but at the same time, you see how it works every for our guys. From then on out no body wanted to step in.”
Both hit batters came on two-seam fastballs that got away, and Burnett laughed about them afterward. So did Kearns, who was grazed in the upper arm. Those two pitches aside, Burnett was happy with his outing. His past few bullpen sessions had been no more than 20 pitches, and the biggest test seemed to be working with a long pitch count deep into a (simulated) game.
“Better than I thought,” Burnett said. “I ended up throwing 80-plus pitches and felt good the whole way through it. That was a big step forward I think… Curveball was great I thought today, and I threw some great changeups too. The only two that got away were the only two that hit our guys.”
Burnett said he felt strong throughout. He’s never lacked confidence he said, but to have so much time off and still feel sharp this afternoon was a sense of relief.
“(His stuff) is always good,” Kearns said. “I think it’s just a matter of feel as far as control or command, whatever you want to say. But his stuff is good.”