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Is a Comeback in the Cards for AJ Burnett?

All Yankees fans may cringe when they hear AJ Burnett’s name being mentioned as a major part of the 2011 starting rotation. This is because of his dreadful 2010 campaign, in which he set a Yankees franchise-record for highest ERA from any Yankees starter in history with more than 180 innings (5.26). Moreover, Burnett frustrates coaches and fans because of his inability to be consistent. He possesses one of the best curveballs in baseball, and an equally good fastball when he is on. AJ also has developed a changeup, which when he uses, has brought him some success as well. However, his failure to be reliable is what drives coaches and fans insane, because he has such tremendous talent and potential, and throughout his career AJ has not been able to find any consistency.

The big question going into the 2011 season for the Yanks is going to be the starting rotation. Yankee fans watched and listened to all the Cliff Lee hype, only to watch him head to Philly. With Lee not in pinstripes next season, the Yankees do have a lot of question marks in regards to their rotation, and AJ Burnett is one of the main ones.

With this in mind, fans have to remember that AJ started the 2010 season lights-out. Through the middle of May, his ERA was under 3. Also, Burnett has been known to exhibit a lack of concentration, which may in part have contributed to his ugly numbers this past season.

Furthermore, the Yankees hired new pitching coach Larry Rothschild in the offseason, and one must wonder if maybe he can be the answer to AJ Burnett. Rothschild is a very accomplished and well-respected coach so it is not crazy to think that he could possibly resolve AJ’s issues both mentally and physically.

Going into the 2011 season, it looks like Burnett is doing all he can to avoid what he did last season. Burnett, who resides in Maryland in the offseason, recently converted a barn on his property to an indoor pitching area. He will also begin working with Larry Rothschild in January before reporting to Spring Training in February.

Yankees fans can only hope that AJ Burnett shows up and ready to play for the 2011 season, because truth be told the Yanks need him to be the top-of-the-rotation pitcher he is being paid to be if they are going to be successful this season.

1 comment:

  1. We are in rough shape counting on AJ, not good why on earth did we sign an inconsistent pitcher when our goal is championships.