Tag:Steve Martin
Posted on: June 27, 2010 12:12 am

Reeling Burnett stranded without Eiland

LOS ANGELES -- The Yankees skipped Phil Hughes' start this time around in deference to his innings-pitched count, but it was A.J. Burnett who again pitched like the guy who really needs to be skipped.

Turning in his fifth consecutive clunker in Saturday's 9-4 loss to the Dodgers, Burnett again was wild, looked lost and was working on mysteries without any clues.

Burnett now has lost five consecutive starts for the first time since 2005, when he was still pitching for Florida.

How difficult is that to do for the Yankees?

Very, it would seem. The Yankees rank second in the American League in runs scored.

"I'm pretty upset," Burnett said in response to a question about how calm he seems in the midst of his worst slump in years. "I'm pretty upset. But the guys in this clubhouse, they don't let you act that way.

"I've had a handful of guys talking to me."

Burnett, 33, has been high-maintenance throughout his career. Last season, Jose Molina evolved into his personal catcher. Molina no longer is around. And his current slide, coincidence or not, started about the same time pitching coach Dave Eiland took a leave of absence for personal reasons.

In the interim, bullpen coach -- and former pitcher -- Mike Harkey is acting as pitching coach.

"Everybody misses Dave here," Burnett said. "But I pitched 10 years without Dave also.

"We're not putting things on nobody but No. 34."

Which, of course, is Burnett's number.

"You look at everything and say, yeah, it could be," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Eiland's absence. "But A.J. knows what he has to do. He understands what he has to do.

"It's hard to pinpoint why. But he has to correct it and he has to work through it."

Over his past five starts, Burnett now has allowed 29 earned runs and nine homers. His ERA during that span is 11.35. On Saturday, 12 of 20 Dodgers Burnett faced reached base.

"Let's not forget that this game is not easy," Girardi said. "I've said all along that he's going to get out of this, and he will."

Last time out, Monday in Arizona, Burnett became the first Yankee to surrender three first-inning homers in a game since Ron Guidry in 1987.

Saturday in Los Angeles, the Dodgers scorched Burnett for two runs and three hits in the first, immediately vaulting them back into the game after the Yanks had scored three in the top of the first. But it was the third inning, when Burnett surrendered four walks (one intentional) and a couple of hits, that really cost him.

Burnett, who walked six (one intentionally) and has walked 17 hitters over his past 23 innings, said he had an "unbelievable" warm-up pre-game and that "the results were terrible but I felt a little better, believe it or not."

Burnett went through a rough time last August with the Yankees, going 0-4 with a 6.03 ERA in six starts, before pulling it together again in September (3-1, 3.83).

Difference now is, Eiland isn't around (and neither is Molina).

Still, Girardi said his inclination is to not skip Burnett's next start, scheduled for Friday at home against Toronto.

"We're 10 minutes after the game, but my thought is not to skip him," Girardi said. "It's a gut feeling of mine. His stuff is there. His command isn't. My gut is to run him out there."

Likes: Dodgers manager Joe Torre on Derek Jeter whiffing three times on his 36th birthday Saturday: "Well, it was my present to him." ... Jerry Reinsdorf for owner of the year. The White Sox, who won their 11th consecutive game on Saturday, have not lost since Reinsdorf scolded GM Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen. ... Nice run by Texas, too. ... Fernando Valenzuela never fails to elicit a loud roar in Dodger Stadium when they show him on the big scoreboard. ... Steve Martin's "leaked" tour demands for his banjo tour with the Steep Canyon Rangers. Great stuff. ... Pompilio's Italian restaurant in Newport, Ky. Good neighborhood place. Had lunch there a week or so ago. Added bonus: The Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman characters in Rain Man had a meal here in the movie (the scene where Hoffman's character insists on counting the toothpicks the drop off of the counter). ... Mojo, the new disc from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Don't love it, but like it quite a bit.

Dislikes: Carlos Zambrano signs a $91.5 million contract a few years ago and behaves like this. And the Cubs should not be happy that he went out to dinner with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen later Friday night. After that embarrassing public meltdown, he should have stayed in and looked in the mirror.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well poor Tom Jefferson
"He loved the little maid out back
"Midnight creepin’ out to the servant’s shack
"Kept a secret under the bed
"Wrapped in a burlap sack"

-- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jefferson Jericho Blues


Posted on: June 1, 2010 10:50 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2010 12:23 am

Boras: Gwynn job with Strasburg "remarkable"

As Stephen Strasburg speeds toward his big-league debut next Tuesday against Pittsburgh, agent Scott Boras says that "no college coach has ever prepared a player better than Tony Gwynn."

Gwynn, the Hall of Famer and San Diego State University baseball coach, oversaw the growth and development of the right-hander (along with pitching coach Rusty Filter) while all the while resisting the temptation to overuse him even as Gwynn's Aztecs team was fighting to qualify for its first NCAA tournament berth in more than a decade.

He also helped school Strasburg on the media attention, and stepped in with rules to limit his availability when the kid was on the verge of being overwhelmed.

"Tony recognized that he was a unique talent, and he did a remarkable job," Boras says. "And that player also got that program into the Regionals, too.

"It says a lot about how right the system can work in getting high school players to go to college around people who understand both the collegiate and pro marketplace so they can really develop players."

In Gwynn's case, of course, he not only understood the college game -- he played at San Diego State in the 1970s -- but also, of course, knows the major leagues. As his eight batting titles attest.

Mostly, Strasburg pitched once a week, on Friday nights.

"Tony was extraordinary," Boras says. "The interest of the player came first throughout. And oh, by the way, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Tony Gwynn's son is a major-league player. I mean that, because he did the same thing with him. They talk about Tony Gwynn being a great player, let's talk about Tony Gwynn as a great coach, father, mentor and everything else he did. Because this man is a Hall of Famer, but you've got to remember that Tony has crossed lines here where most Hall of Famers don't go. They're teachers, mentors, they're all those things. I think a great deal of credit needs to go to him because of what he's doing currently and the fact that he's taking the time to be a college coach.

"He could be a broadcaster. He could probably make triple the income he's making and live a very different life, and a lot easier life than what he's doing now. And I think we're all privileged that he's doing that for young men, for college baseball and for baseball in general. Tony Gwynn is doing something that impacted both college and professional baseball."

Likes: The Cardinals and Reds this week in St. Louis battling for first place in the NL Central. ... Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Tim Lincecum on Memorial Day. Jimenez is unbelievable. Lincecum will find his control. Pitchers slump, too, you know. ... Michael Cuddyer playing second base for Minnesota on Monday in Seattle for the first time since July, 2005. Leave it to the Twins. ... Memorial Day Weekend. Summer's here. ... Case in point: A large group of men playing Ultimate Frisbee on Tuesady in one of the parks I cruise through during my daily runs. Usually, with the kids still in school, the place is quiet on a workday. ... The shrimp that emerged perfectly from my grill the other day. ... New concert DVD from Bruce Springsteen, London Calling -- Live in Hyde Park, in about three weeks. ... Finished Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin. Really, really terrific. A gripping read by Hampton Sides.

Dislikes: Nice job of working the plate the other day, Bill Hohn. In ejecting Astros ace Roy Oswalt, he gave a textbook example of how not to ump. Following in the immediate aftermath of Joe West and Bob Davidson. ... Bad caps worn by all on Memorial Day. Bad, bad caps. Can we just wear the uniforms that the clubs are supposed to wear and stop with all the alternate jerseys/caps stuff? I know there's money to be made, but do we have to squeeze every last penny out of everybody? There are other ways to honor the Veterans -- as they deserve to be honored -- on Memorial Day. ... It's Complicated, with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, is not even worth renting. Brutal. We shut it off after an hour or so the other night. I mean, Meryl Streep is usually fantastic, but she over-acted something fierce in this dog. Every scene, she giggled, laughed or cried. Totally distracting. Ugh.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I’m gonna write a truthful song over an eighties groove
"I’d like to let you know I’ll always be straight with you
"I stole my personality from an anonymous source
"And I’m gonna pay for it too, I don’t feel bad about that
"Give me my chance back"

-- Hockey, (Tomorrow's Just) A Song Away

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com