A.J. Burnett getting acclimated to Phillies

A.J. Burnett is expected to stabilize the Phillies rotation after two strong seasons with the Pirates.


A.J. Burnett is expected to stabilize the Phillies rotation after two strong seasons with the Pirates.

CLEARWATER — A.J. Burnett plunked Pedro Alvarez on his back foot Sunday afternoon with a two-strike pitch. The two joked about it. Burnett, apparently, has a propensity for being so precise that often the batter swings and misses at that pitch.

For the past two seasons, Alvarez marveled at that skill. He knew how much it irked Burnett not to acquire another victim. Now, as opponents and not teammates, they laughed as Burnett's first inning as a Phillie unfolded.

"You should have swung," Burnett yelled. "You could have been on a highlight reel, that was you!"

This banal scene was beautiful to the Phillies, a team with more appreciation for Burnett with every passing day. He is their $16 million rock, a 37-year-old rotation stabilizer who once proclaimed he would pitch for Pittsburgh in 2014 or retire. Instead, he induced groundouts from five Pirates in two innings during Philadelphia's 4-1 loss.

Burnett threw his entire repertoire — earlier than usual — because he wanted to test the burgeoning relationship with C Carlos Ruiz. Burnett said it was best for Ruiz to understand his tendencies now.

"He's great back there," Burnett said. "I was looking forward to that for a while."

3B HURT: Cody Asche left the game after being hit in the right hand with a fastball from LHP Yao-Hsun Yang. Preliminary test results were negative.

Jays: Closer slowed

DUNEDIN — Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen is battling shoulder soreness again and will be on a limited throwing schedule for the next week or so.

Janssen entered camp healthy but hasn't thrown since the middle of last week. The right-hander told mlb.com that an MRI exam revealed no structural damage.

"It's going to subside," Janssen told the website. "Just take a couple of days off and get right back on and start throwing again.

Janssen pitched only twice last spring training after having offseason surgery, but he appeared in 56 games during the regular season, going 34-for-36 in save opportunities and posting a 2.56 ERA. He told mlb.com that the current soreness is in the back of the shoulder rather than the top and doesn't appear to be related to last year's problems.

RASMUS OUT: OF Colby Rasmus was scratched from the game against the Yankees because of a stiff neck. Rasmus was set to bat seventh but opted to sit as a precaution. He does not expect it to be a long-term issue and hopes to return in a "couple days."

Yanks: Teixeira close

TAMPA — 1B Mark Teixeira will play in his first spring training game either Thursday or Friday, manager Joe Girardi told mlb.com.

Teixeira played in only 15 games last season because of a right wrist injury sustained during the World Baseball Classic that required surgery. He has been limited to batting practice and fielding drills this spring.

Girardi said he expects Teixeira to be able to play the field when he returns to the lineup.

"I think sometimes you worry about their anxiousness to get out there," Girardi told the website. "I think Tex has been pretty smart about the way he's gone about his work. I think guys miss it so much that they rush things back. He's been right on track. We haven't been worried about that."

PINEDA THROWS: RHP Michael Pineda, who missed the past two seasons after right shoulder surgery, threw 35 pitches in a simulated game. He's scheduled to make his spring debut Friday in Tampa.

BELTRAN BOMB: OF Carlos Beltran hit his first home run as a Yankee in an 8-2 win over the Blue Jays.

Blue Jays

Games: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Tickets: (727) 733-0429; bluejays.com

Today: at Twins (ss), Fort Myers, 1:05


Games: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Tickets: (727) 467-4457; phillies.com

Today: at Rays, Port Charlotte, 1:05


Games: Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive (corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Dale Mabry), Tampa

Tickets: (813) 879-2244; yankees.com

Today: vs. Nationals, 1:05. TV: MLB

A.J. Burnett getting acclimated to Phillies 03/02/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 2, 2014 9:39pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours