A.J. Burnett 'Embarrassed' After Cutting Hands During Clubhouse Tantrum
But Saturday, in a 10-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium, Burnett had a different kind of emotional explosion that forced his removal from the game with minor cuts on both hands.
After hitting a batter, giving up a two-run home run to Reid Brignac and making an error in the second inning to fall behind 3-0, Burnett went into the clubhouse and slammed his open hands into a pair of swinging doors.
The doors have plastic holders for display of lineups and other team announcements. Burnett apparently cut his hands on the edges of the holders, although he first told trainers he had tripped on some steps and scraped his palms while trying to break his fall.
After the Yankees cut the lead to 3-2, Burnett came out to start the third inning but was removed after hitting Evan Longoria, throwing a wild pitch and giving up a run-scoring single to Carlos Pena.
After the game, Burnett was waiting in the office of Joe Girardi, the manager said. He explained what he did and apologized to both Girardi and to general manager Brian Cashman, Burnett said.
"I'm an honest person, I don't need to make up a lie," Burnett said after the game. "I was embarrassed."
When Girardi was asked whether Burnett would be fined, he replied: "We have taken care of everything and we'll move forward."
Girardi's post-game news conference was delayed about 15 minutes while he met with Burnett.
"A.J. got frustrated," Girardi said. "He's embarrassed. He's disappointed in himself. We're fortunate the cuts aren't in his fingers."
Burnett was able to use both hands after the game to send text messages on his cell phone. Both Girardi and Burnett said Burnett would probably not miss a start.
The defeat left Burnett with a record of 7-8. The other Yankees starters are C.C. Sabathia (12-3), Phil Hughes (11-2), Andy Pettitte (11-2) and Javier Vazquez (7-7).
Saturday's result left the Yankees two games ahead of the Rays in the American League East. Their three-game series, tied at one victory each, concludes Sunday.
Brignac also hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning off Dustin Moseley and finished the day with three hits and five runs batted in.
In the eighth inning, with two men on and two men out, Brignac -- the second baseman -- made the best fielding play of the day by snagging a ground ball by Derek Jeter and winning a race to the bag with Jeter, who slid feet first.
Burnett's injury was not the only one on a hot Old-Timers' Day. Yogi Berra, the Hall-of-Fame catcher, missed the ceremonies and exhibition game because he fell at his home and suffered bruises on Friday, the Yankees announced.
Luis Arroyo, another Old-Timer, was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack on a Friday-night boat ride with other Old-Timers. The ceremonies Saturday continued the week-long tributes to George Steinbrenner, the owner, and Bob Sheppard, the public-address announcer, who recently died.
But, after Saturday's game, most of the chatter was about Burnett, who worked two innings and gave up four runs on four hits with one strikeout.
"Out of all the doors, I picked the ones with the plexiglass," Burnett said. "I'm not the first player to snap. It's something I'll have to learn from."