AJ Burnett had not walked a batter during spring training entering Thursday night's action.
That all changed once he was forced to pitch against his former Toronto Blue Jay teammates, as he walked three batters and ran deep counts to many others.
Burnett struggled mightily with his location all night, managing to escape jams with fortunately placed ground balls.
He ran his pitch count up early, forcing himself out of the game after just 3 1/3 innings.
He has always been a pitcher with a solid strikeout/walk ratio, though it was due to his typically impressive strikeout totals more than his control.
Burnett was typically a pitcher that was described as "wild within the strike zone". This is a phrase usually reserved for pitchers with great stuff that never figured out how to spot their fastballs.
Alterations to his mindset and mechanics have changed that stigma, and he has been much more effective at hitting corners.
Burnett had been displaying pinpoint accuracy reminiscent of David Wells and Mike Mussina thus far as a Yankee.
Every pitcher has a bad day.
Burnett's was minimized by some leftover Irish luck and a decimated Blue Jay lineup. The middle of their order is without Alex Rios, Scott Rolen, and Vernon Wells, unquestionably their three best hitters.
Burnett was able to struggle and work on adjustments without the embarrassing finale of walking off the mound to a 6-0 deficit.
It is very rewarding to keep your team in the game without dominating stuff. Some pitchers will say that they are the most rewarding victories of all.
Burnett may not be a control freak, but he will be fine in NY as long as he manages to control his unpredictable injury history.
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