Yankees’ struggling right handed starter AJ Burnett left today’s game against the second place Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning with what the team said was ‘lacerations’ on his right hand. Burnett has been one of the very few lowlights for the Yankees this season, as he has pitched to a 4.75 ERA and a 7 and 7 win-loss record.
Burnett had given up four runs through two innings, and had allowed two base runners before Yankees manager Joe Girardi and trainer Gene Monahan came out to the mound, looked at his hand, and took him out of the game.
Left unexplained, however, is how Burnett had multiple cuts on his pitching hand. While he has had struggles on the mound this year, this latest development could be the nadir for Burnett.
A blister, a sore arm, or a twinge can all be explained through the act of pitching, which is inherently an unnatural act. Multiple cuts, or lacerations, on the pitching hand, however, wouldn’t seem to be caused by pitching and speculation is rising tonight as to how Burnett was cut on his hand.
Yankee fans could not be blamed for thinking back to the 2004 season when a struggling Kevin Brown, another high priced free agent pitcher who never lived up to expectations while with the Yankees, left a late season game and punched a wall, breaking his left (non pitching) hand. Brown missed a number of starts afterwards and never really came back from it, and was ultimately one of the main culprits in the Yankees’ collapse that year against the rival Red Sox in the American League Championship Series as they gave up a three game to none lead.
There is no evidence as of yet that the lacerations on Burnett’s hand are self inflicted. Still, the story is bound to grow, and speculation destined to mount, until a full explanation is offered by the Yankees, and Burnett, as to how he mysteriously had cuts on his hand after giving up four runs in three innings against the Yankees’ closest division rival.
The injury occurred on Yankees’ Old Timers’ Day; a particularly poignant one as the organization deals with the passing of owner George Steinbrenner and legendary public address announcer Bob Sheppard earlier this week.
The circumstances surrounding the lacerations on Burnett’s hand should become clearer over the next day or two; if they were self inflicted, there is bound to be much more speculation concerning Burnett’s future with the New York Yankees.
Source: Mike Mazzeo, “Yankees starter A.J. Burnett pulled from today’s game with lacerations on his right hand”, nj.com