NEW YORK (WFAN) — For former Yankees starter A.J. Burnett, it’s all about location, location, location.
And we’re not talking about his pitches.
Burnett, who was traded to Pittsburgh before spring training, loaded the bases in the first inning of his first game at the Pirates’ PNC Park. In New York, he likely would have been showered with boos — especially considering his history in the Bronx.
But it was a different feeling entirely from his new home crowd.
“I can’t even imagine what that place (Yankee Stadium) would have sounded like over there,” Burnett said before his Pirates lost to the Mets on Tuesday. “And there was maybe like two words that came out of the crowd here.”
Burnett eventually settled down and got the win, allowing just three hits and two walks over seven innings pitched. It was a stark difference for the right-hander, who was known for his puzzling mid-game meltdowns while with the Yankees.
“I guess that’s why CC (Sabathia) is so good, because he could care less,” said Burnett. “He just pitches. Obviously, (Yankees fans) love him because he’s dominant, but I don’t think it would matter either way.
“I maybe went out there and tried to overdo it.”
The enigmatic right-hander wasn’t all bad. He was an innings-eater at the very least, pitching no less than 186.2 innings in each of his three seasons with New York. But Burnett’s detractors would point his 34-35 record with the Yankees and career-high ERAs of 5.26 (2010) and 5.15 (2011).
“I had my good times there,” said Burnett. “I don’t regret it at all. I don’t. I regret not performing better.”
Though Burnett had a late start to the season due to a freak bunting accident this spring, he seems to have found his groove. He’s 2-2 with a 4.78 ERA over six starts, though that figure was skewed by a 12-run pasting over two-plus innings earlier this month.
Burnett owns an impressive 2.06 ERA in his five other starts. You can’t help but wonder if the Yankees could have used him — warts and all — with Michael Pineda out for the year, Freddy Garcia already demoted to the bullpen and the starters outside of Sabathia and Andy Pettitte still struggling to find their groove.
“I’m sure they’ll do fine once they put it together,” Burnett said of his old team. “Nobody’s going to bat 1.000. Nobody’s going to win every game. So they’re a pretty good squad over there. I think they’ll be okay.”
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