Friday, July 2, 2010

Eiland's Arkansas talk pumps up AJ

I guess AJ Burnett really did need Dave Eiland to work on his mind and mechanics.

In his first outing since his pitching coach returned from a personal leave of absence, Burnett pitched pretty well, giving up no runs in 6 2/3rd innings. It was obvious early that Burnett was a different guy on the mound. He got two quick outs to start the game before giving up a hit, but promptly came back with a strikeout. "To come out of the first inning the way that I did gave me a little confidence and I built on that," Burnett said.

Yes, he did. The most encouraging part of today's game was that AJ did not fall apart when he had runners on base as he did in June on his way to an 0-5 record and a 11.65 ERA, including a depressing start in Arizona when he got smacked all around the ballpark by a last-place team.

In one of those situations today, Eiland came out to give him a 10-second pep talk, which Burnett dubbed Eiland's "Arkansas talk." I thought the Eiland absence was a weak excuse for AJ's struggles, but there was obviously some truth to the explanation. If this baseball coaching thing doesn’t work out for Eiland, he may have a future as a shrink because whatever he said to AJ on the mound and before the game obviously worked.
"It's good to hear his voice, it's good to have him back," Burnett said.

Even though the New York Yankees lost today's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, they had to be pleased with what they saw from Burnett. “It’s important for us to get him going because I know how frustrated he is and I know how hard he works at it and the importance of him in our rotation,” manager Joe Girardi said. “This was a great step for him and I’m extremely happy for him.”

Of course, it's only one start and we have to wait five days to see if AJ can build on it, but it's a positive sign for the Yankees.

No comments:

Post a Comment