Rays spoil Yankees' Old-Timer's Day
A.J. Burnett and the New York Yankees ended a difficult week on a sour note.
The big right-hander cut both palms when he slammed a set of double doors in frustration after giving up the first of Reid Brignac's two home runs Saturday in a 10-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
''I think the moral is just the fact that I let these guys down in a game where we weren't out of the game early against a good team that's right behind us in second place,'' Burnett said.
Burnett's anger swelled on the day George Steinbrenner was laid to rest and the Yankees honored longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard during Old-Timers Day festivities.
After the Rays made it 3-0 after two innings, Burnett marched into New York's clubhouse and slammed open a set of double doors leading to the showers at the far end of the room, slicing both hands on the plastic lineup-card holders pasted to the door.
Burnett (7-8), sporting a square Band-Aid, and manager Joe Girardi said the No. 2 starter would have his regular bullpen session in two days and make his next scheduled start. Burnett said the location of the cuts do not affect how he grips the ball.
Burnett initially told trainer Steve Donohue that he was hurt in a fall, but shared the real story once he settled down.
''I was embarrassed of the whole situation and that's why once I calmed down I realized that, I'm an honest person so I don't need to make up a lie to hide something,'' said Burnett, who gave up four runs, four hits and hit two batters with pitches in his shortest outing of the season.
When asked if Burnett was disciplined, Girardi said, ''We have taken care of everything and will move forward.''
The Yankees hastily removed the tarp in the bullpen and had Dustin Moseley begin to warm up during their half of the second inning, but he quickly sat down. Burnett convinced the team he was OK to pitch the third, then he hit Evan Longoria with a pitch to start the inning and gave up an RBI single to Carlos Pena, who drove in three runs, before he was lifted.
''I think Joe thought it was affecting the way I was holding the ball. I think it affected me differently,'' Burnett said. ''When you snap like that your emotions go in the wrong direction. In my mind I came out because I was terrible today.''
Pitching coach Dave Eiland could be seen checking the ball — for blood marks? — that hit Longoria after it was tossed out of play.
Girardi said Burnett was waiting in the manager's office at the end of the game, and the pitcher apologized to Girardi, Donohue and general manager Brian Cashman.
''I'm not happy that he did it, but the fact is, me not carrying anger over, it's not going to change what happened. It's my job to make sure it doesn't happen again,'' Girardi said. ''I had my talk with A.J. I did that, but I got to move on, too. He has to move on.''
Burnett said he would apologize to his teammates Sunday.
Curtis Granderson said he is not owed an apology but he would be forgiving.
''I hope he's OK. We want him back in there. I think he's going to be a great asset for us,'' Granderson said. ''Guys get angry and upset. They put more pressure on themselves than the outside and us teammates do to each other. ... It's frustration that's all part of it and if he comes in and apologizes (Sunday) everybody sure is going to accept it.''
Burnett has talked about keeping his frustration in check and said he's ''100 percent'' certain it wouldn't happen again.
Burnett was on a good stretch after going 0-5 in June. He had allowed only two runs in 13 2-3 innings over his past two starts before faltering Saturday.
''I was surprised when he came out. He seemed like the usual A.J. when I faced him,'' said Pena, who was 3 for 33 against Burnett coming in.
Earlier on Saturday, at a cemetery in Trinity, Fla., about a half-hour drive from the Tampa home of the late owner, Steinbrenner's casket was placed inside a mausoleum. About 40 people attended the brief ceremony, including his four children, wife Joan and Yankees employees.
Steinbrenner died of a heart attack Tuesday at 80.
For the seventh-inning stretch, the Yankees played a video of Sheppard singing ''Let Me Call You Sweetheart,'' a Mother's Day tradition at Yankee Stadium, instead of singing ''Take Me Out to the Ball Game.'' Sheppard died last Sunday at 99.
Yogi Berra missed the popular event that preceded the Yankees-Rays game after he took a bad spill at his house the night before. The 85-year-old Hall of Famer's wife Carmen said in a statement Berra had several bruises and he was resting. The Yankees honored his 1950 World Series championship team Saturday.
Brignac had his first two-homer game and drove in a career-high five runs for the Rays, who moved within two games of the AL East-leading Yankees.
Jeff Niemann (8-2) pitched 6 1-3 solid innings after leaving his last start with a stiff back.
NOTES: The Yankees recalled LHP Boone Logan and placed LHP Damaso Marte on the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in his left shoulder. ... Jorge Posada and Mark Teixeira homered for New York.
AP freelancer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.