Working with Posada, A.J. feels all right
Remember August 22 of last season? Sure you do. That was the game that the relationship between A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada hit its low point, with Burnett stretching his arms out and yelling at himself, “Why? Why would you throw that pitch?”
It has been an enduring snapshot, and not just in the media and among the fan base. On Saturday, an afternoon when Burnett and Posada clicked at their best, Burnett revealed that the memories from Fenway Park had made the trip to Spring Training as something for the ‘what to work on’ file.
“I think that whole Boston thing kind of got the best of us,” Burnett said. “Even though
we talked about it and knew it wasn’t about him and wasn’t about me,
the whole thing blew up so much that … it keeps it in the back of your
mind. To be able to come here and work here and throw to him every
start, it’s fun and relaxed.”
Burnett and Posada needed to fix whatever wasn’t going right in their relationship because, frankly, they are going to be together a good amount. Jose Molina is gone, having signed with the Blue Jays, and Joe Girardi does not want to use Francisco Cervelli as a personal catcher for Burnett – or anyone.
So far, Burnett says the relationship is working. He didn’t have his curveball Saturday and needed to figure out a way to navigate the Tigers, relying instead on his fastball and offering props to Posada’s game-calling. In short, Burnett said that Saturday had been “easy upstairs,” meaning that the battery was largely on the same page over 6 2/3 innings of one-run, three-hit ball at Joker Marchant Stadium.
“I could be more efficient, but that’ll come under the lights, hopefully,” said Burnett, who walked three and struck out two in a 91-pitch outing. “Just to get that hook over is the main thing today, but besides that, I felt great. I was relaxed and confident.”