A.J. Burnett will get back on the mound tomorrow at Yankee Stadium, pitching about five simulated innings as he prepares for his upcoming start in the American League Championship Series.
“I’ve been looking forward to it, hoping they’d give me a shot, and they did,” Burnett said. “Now it’s my job to get ready for it.”
Burnett said that he could “probably not” make up for his 10-15 season with a handful of playoff starts, but he is looking forward to being able to help the team again.
“Those numbers aren’t going to go away. But that’s in the past,” Burnett said. “This is October and whatever happens in the future is what counts. … To be honest with you, I really don’t want to look back. I put that behind me the best I can and I’ve been positive here every day waiting to get my shot. I’m ready to help.”
The Yankees have said that they believe Burnett can turn his year around, and there was a wall of solidarity behind him in the clubhouse today.
“He’s just been inconsistent, but the stuff is still in there,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “He knows that he’s probably going to pitch this series and he’s excited about it. There’s that twinkle in his eye again. We’re looking for him to step up and pitch well for us.”
Burnett has been just throwing light 15 to 20 pitch bullpens recently, because he wasn’t sure if he’d be needed to pitch in relief during the AL Division Series. It turned out he wasn’t called upon in the sweep of the Twins, and it sounds like he’s looking forward to trading his bullpen seat for one a little closer to the action.
“It was different. At the same times, you’re in the games,” Burnett said. “You’re watching, you’re cheering. You want to get in, but you understand. It was definitely a different view, but the same feeling, no doubt.”