Bucs embrace addition of pitcher Burnett
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A.J. Burnett is endearing himself to his new teammates -- and he hasn't even joined them yet.
Burnett is expected to take a physical today and then await notification from Major League Baseball that the Pirates' deal to acquire the right-hander from the New York Yankees is complete. That approval should come Monday or Tuesday, after which Burnett can begin working out at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.
"We're looking forward to him joining our team," said second baseman Neil Walker, who already has reported to spring training. Pitchers and catchers reported Saturday and have their first workout today. Full-squad workouts are scheduled to begin Friday.
"I think it's a great addition," Walker added, "and I think him coming from the A.L. East, pitching in such a competitive division, he's going to give us a very good chance to win every time he steps on the mound."
Walker described the mood among his teammates as "obviously very positive."
Walker said Burnett's experience -- the right-hander has been in the majors 13 seasons -- should help the Pirates' younger pitchers, including Charlie Morton and James McDonald, and lauded the front office for making the move.
"It seems they're trying to give us the best chance here and take advantage of anything they can, through free agency and trades, and they've made some good additions both on offense and on defense," Walker said. "I think there's a lot of optimism going into this spring training and a lot of good additions to our ball club."
The Pirates acquired Burnett on Friday, agreeing to take on $13 million in salary over the next two years in exchange for Class A prospects Diego Moreno, a reliever, and Exicardo Cayones, an outfielder. The Yankees will pay $20 million of the $33 million left on Burnett's contract.
When Burnett, 35, officially joins the Pirates, he will be reunited with catcher Rod Barajas, 36, who signed as a free agent in November. Burnett was 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA with Barajas catching most of his games while the two played for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008.
Morton, a righty who went 10-10 with a 3.83 ERA last season, had surgery in October to repair a torn labrum but hopes to be ready for opening day.
"My hip got cleared for everything," he said. "Now it's just making sure I get enough reps in off the mound, long toss and that stuff. I've been throwing since mid-December. I've been off the mound four times. I don't feel too far behind."
McDonald said the added competition with Burnett and left-hander Erik Bedard, who also signed during the offseason, will only make the team better.
"It's always good to have other starters that are good because you want to keep up with them," McDonald said. "I think that's good to have a lot of guys with a lot of good stuff -- have a friendly competition among each other."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Autographs to come at a cost at PirateFest
- Pirates star McCutchen marries in private ceremony
- Pirates enter Plan B with Martin off market
- Pirates trade Davis to A’s for international signing bonus money
- Pirates cut ties with Davis, clearing path for Alvarez to play first base
- Rossi: Pirates don’t need Alvarez at first base
- Pirates’ Hurdle finishes 2nd to Nationals’ Williams in NL Manager of the Year voting
- Pirates acquire catcher Cervelli from Yankees
- Pirates ready to protect top pitching prospects from Rule 5 draft