BRADENTON -- On Saturday, right-hander A.J. Burnett was driving down to Florida from Baltimore, not sure of which city he was going to end up at --Tampa, where the New York Yankees train, or Bradenton, where the Pirates hold their spring training. During his drive, Burnett received a call from Bucs Manager Clint Hurdle and General Manager Neal Huntington welcoming him to the team.
Pirate City is where he ended up.
"I’m looking forward to this," Burnett said. "It’s going to be a fresh start, go back to the National League where I can hit and bunt, get the joy back in the game.”
Burnett struggled in New York after signing a five-year contract in 2008. During the 2011 season, Burnett went 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA over 32 starts, and lost the joy in baseball.
"I put more pressure on myself than anybody else does," Burnett said. "I think that it was fun the first couple years.”
“I’m not saying it wasn’t fun [ in New York]. I get to run around the bases...