A.J. Burnett got a start today at Pirate City, going up against the Toronto Blue Jays’ Triple-A squad. The right-hander went five innings, giving up two runs on three hits, with two walks and three strikeouts.
Burnett got off to a rough start, throwing 22 pitches in the first inning and having the inning ended with two outs. He bounced back in the second inning, needing only 10 pitches to get through the outing. The two runs came on a home run to right field with the wind blowing out. That same wind helped carry a Tony Sanchez home run out in the previous inning.
“I finished strong, that’s the main thing,” Burnett said of his outing. “I felt better as I kept going out. That’s what you want to feel. You don’t want to peak early and get tired. I’ll take that any day over the opposite.”
The right-hander said that he was struggling with his curveball. Burnett usually doesn’t start throwing the curve until his third start. Today was only the second time he’s used it in a game, and he’s only used it a handful of times in bullpens.
“You’re working on things out here,” Burnett said of the progress with the curve. “I didn’t have the hook today, but I had to keep throwing it. It got me behind in certain counts, but that’s a pitch for me that I can’t throw on the back burner. You’ve just got to keep throwing it and hope you find it. Today I didn’t.”
Burnett was stretched out with an 80 pitch limit and five innings. He threw 72 pitches on the day, staying under that limit. He will have one more start at the 80 pitch range before the Pirates extend him to 100 pitches. The right-hander said that he was feeling good so far from a physical standpoint with the added innings.