A.J. Burnett Leaves Game, Yankees Lose to Rays

NEW YORK — A.J. Burnett and the New York Yankees ended a difficult week on a sour note.

The big right-hander cut both palms
when he slammed a set of double doors in frustration after giving up
the first of Reid Brignac's two home runs Saturday in a 10-5 loss to
the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I think the moral is just the fact
that I let these guys down in a game where we weren't out of the game
early against a good team that's right behind us in second place,"
Burnett said.

Burnett's anger swelled on the day
George Steinbrenner was laid to rest and the Yankees honored longtime
public address announcer Bob Sheppard during Old-Timers Day
festivities.

After the Rays made it 3-0 after two
innings, Burnett marched into New York's clubhouse and slammed open a
set of double doors leading to the showers at the far end of the room,
slicing both hands on the plastic lineup-card holders pasted to the
door.

Burnett (7-8), sporting a square
Band-Aid, and manager Joe Girardi said the No. 2 starter would have his
regular bullpen session in two days and make his next scheduled start.
Burnett said the location of the cuts do not affect how he grips the
ball.

Burnett initially told trainer Steve Donohue that he was hurt in a fall, but shared the real story once he settled down.

"I was embarrassed of the whole
situation and that's why once I calmed down I realized that, I'm an
honest person so I don't need to make up a lie to hide something," said
Burnett, who gave up four runs, four hits and hit two batters with
pitches in his shortest outing of the season.

When asked if Burnett was disciplined, Girardi said, "We have taken care of everything and will move forward."

The Yankees hastily removed the tarp
in the bullpen and had Dustin Moseley begin to warm up during their
half of the second inning, but he quickly sat down. Burnett convinced
the team he was OK to pitch the third, then he hit Evan Longoria with a
pitch to start the inning and gave up an RBI single to Carlos Pena, who
drove in three runs, before he was lifted.

"I think Joe thought it was
affecting the way I was holding the ball. I think it affected me
differently," Burnett said. "When you snap like that your emotions go
in the wrong direction. In my mind I came out because I was terrible
today."

Pitching coach Dave Eiland could be
seen checking the ball — for blood marks? — that hit Longoria after it
was tossed out of play.

Girardi said Burnett was waiting in
the manager's office at the end of the game, and the pitcher apologized
to Girardi, Donohue and general manager Brian Cashman.

"I'm not happy that he did it, but
the fact is, me not carrying anger over, it's not going to change what
happened. It's my job to make sure it doesn't happen again," Girardi
said. "I had my talk with A.J. I did that, but I got to move on, too.
He has to move on."

Burnett said he would apologize to his teammates Sunday.

Curtis Granderson said he is not owed an apology but he would be forgiving.

"I hope he's OK. We want him back in
there. I think he's going to be a great asset for us," Granderson said.
"Guys get angry and upset. They put more pressure on themselves than
the outside and us teammates do to each other. … It's frustration
that's all part of it and if he comes in and apologizes (Sunday)
everybody sure is going to accept it."

Burnett has talked about keeping his frustration in check and said he's "100 percent" certain it wouldn't happen again.

Burnett was on a good stretch after
going 0-5 in June. He had allowed only two runs in 13 2/3 innings over
his past two starts before faltering Saturday.

"I was surprised when he came out.
He seemed like the usual A.J. when I faced him," said Pena, who was 3-for-33 against Burnett coming in.

Earlier on Saturday, at a cemetery
in Trinity, Fla., about a half-hour drive from the Tampa home of the
late owner, Steinbrenner's casket was placed inside a mausoleum. About
40 people attended the brief ceremony, including his four children,
wife Joan and Yankees employees.

Steinbrenner died of a heart attack Tuesday at 80.

For the seventh-inning stretch, the
Yankees played a video of Sheppard singing "Let Me Call You
Sweetheart," a Mother's Day tradition at Yankee Stadium, instead of
singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Sheppard died last Sunday at
99.

Yogi Berra missed the popular event
that preceded the Yankees-Rays game after he took a bad spill at his
house the night before. The 85-year-old Hall of Famer's wife Carmen
said in a statement Berra had several bruises and he was resting. The
Yankees honored his 1950 World Series championship team Saturday.

Brignac had his first two-homer game
and drove in a career-high five runs for the Rays, who moved within two
games of the AL East-leading Yankees.

Jeff Niemann (8-2) pitched 6 1/3 solid innings after leaving his last start with a stiff back.

Notes
The Yankees recalled LHP
Boone Logan and placed LHP Damaso Marte on the 15-day disabled list
because of inflammation in his left shoulder. … Jorge Posada and Mark
Teixeira
homered for New York.

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