Friday, March 2, 2012

Sympathy for AJ Burnett

I feel terrible for AJ Burnett, who is going to miss the next 2-3 months following surgery to repair a broken orbital bone.

It’s a real shame that such a freak injury happened right when things were finally starting to look up for the embattled right-hander. After three inconsistent years, Burnett was finally free of the expectations and pressure of playing in New York following his trade from the New York Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates. I was rooting for him to do well in his new baseball home, which could still happen after he returns from his injury (thankfully having nothing to do with his rather durable right arm). But it has to be deflating to be sidelined so quickly after joining a new team.

I do not, however, want to see Burnett’s injury being used as an excuse to expand the designated hitter to the National League. I am in favor of American League teams using the DH in NL parks during interleague games only to avoid injuries such as the one that ruined Chien-Ming Wang’s career with the Yankees. But eventually I want to see the DH job phased out completely, after giving the AL teams some time to teach their pitchers proper hitting techniques, including, apparently, bunting.

Wang, viewed as a potential ace with the Yankees for a time, has yet to completely recover from that devastating injury. I wish a better fate for Burnett.

Get well soon, AJ. 

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