Pirates Notebook: Burnitz apologizes for failing to run out grounder
Share with others:
APOLOGY OFFERED: Right fielder Jeromy Burnitz says he regrets not running out a ground ball Wednesday night against Arizona.
Click photo for larger image.
Jeromy Burnitz expressed regret about failing to run out a ground ball to Arizona second baseman Orlando Hudson Wednesday night at PNC Park.
"I apologize for that," the Pirates' right fielder said in an interview yesterday afternoon. "It seems like I'd hit 20 balls in a row like that, rollovers to first. ... The fact is, I went and looked at it, and I had no chance. He would have thrown me out. But the effort that they expect -- and they jumped on me for it -- I apologize if I don't play hard enough. I have a reputation for playing hard."
He took no issue with the nasty reaction from the 14,509 in attendance.
"I heard the boos. And I've heard 'em before. If I poke my head out of the dugout in New York, there would be 40,000 of them. Loud, too."
He was asked how that made him feel.
"It stinks. It stinks. You never get used to it. It's never something you want to experience. It's a bad feeling. Really, what you're dealing with is ... embarrassing. That's actually the word for it. You're used to performing at a certain level and not doing it, and people are upset. Doesn't matter who you are, nobody wants to be yelled at."
Burnitz, the Pirates' second-highest paid player after signing for a guaranteed $6.7 million as a free agent, never has been marked as a negligible-effort type in his 13 seasons of Major League Baseball. The previous night, he made two fine catches to help the Pirates to a victory.
In general, though, things have not gone well in Pittsburgh. He was 2 for 31 in May heading into the game last night and batting .185 for the season.
"I'm getting good pitches to hit, and I'm swinging right around them," he said. "I'm conscious of it. I know what I'm doing wrong. In my batting practices, I'm doing it right. But I'm not able to carry it into the game right now."
He was asked how he felt about manager Jim Tracy keeping his name in the lineup every day, and he responded in typically blunt fashion.
"Are you kidding me? What else is he going to do? In this situation, of course he's going to stay with me. This is the first team I've been on in a couple years where I'm Joe High-Paid Free Agent. That, in and of itself, should tell you the big picture that the team's in. If I'm just another guy on one of those big-market, big-paying teams ... that's not the way it is here, and I understand that. I'm cool with it."
"If I have to wear through this all season and stink, you won't see me quit."
Tracy, who defended Burnitz Wednesday, took umbrage when the issue arose again yesterday in his pregame news conference.
"It's too easy to beat a dog when he's down," Tracy said. "I don't buy it. And I don't like it. And I'll defend the player."
Bullington pushed back
Starter Bryan Bullington, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2002 draft, continues to recover from surgery on his right shoulder, but he will not meet the original projection for a return to competitive pitching in June. The new goal is July.
He is long-tossing from 90 feet and could be ramped up to 105 next week. Mound work could follow next month.
"This has been great, the best I've felt," Bullington said. "There was a stretch there last month where I wasn't getting past 90 and kind of had to take a step back. That's frustrating. But everything has gone really well, especially the past few days."
Florida's $14.9 million payroll is roughly $55 million below Major League Baseball's median and less than one-third of the Pirates' $47 million. Their average age is 26.7, by far the youngest in the game and markedly younger than the Pirates' 28.6.
For that matter, the Marlins are younger than the Pirates' Class AAA affiliate in Indianapolis (28.5) and the Class AA affiliate in Altoona (26.8).
Florida's players sound as if they relish the position.
"I think it's awesome," first-year second baseman Dan Uggla said. "For us to come into the big leagues together, we have a chance to bond, to know what the other is going through, and it's going to make the team a lot stronger in the future. We all know we're going to be part of something special for a long time."
Shortstop Jack Wilson and catcher Ryan Doumit, recovering from hamstring injuries, participated in running and fielding exercises, but Tracy described each as "60-70 percent."
Reliever Giovanni Carrara, who sought and received his release from the Pirates' Class AAA affiliate in Indianapolis earlier in the month, has resurfaced with Las Vegas. That is the Class AAA affiliate of his previous employer, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Seven veterans will not make the trip for the Hall of Fame Game Monday: Burnitz; catcher Ronny Paulino; third baseman Joe Randa; starters Oliver Perez, Paul Maholm and Victor Santos; and reliever Roberto Hernandez. It is possible the team will add top catching prospect Neil Walker, although he has yet to play this season because of wrist surgery.
INDIANAPOLIS (19-15) beat Durham, 5-3. LHP Sean Burnett (2-2, 6.29) allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck one and walked two. C Carlos Maldonado (.300) went 2 for 3 with his third home run and three RBIs.
ALTOONA (22-13) swept a doubleheader from Binghamton, 7-6 and 4-2. In the first game, LHP Josh Shortslef (4-0, 4.14) allowed six runs in three innings. RHP Josh Sharpless (0.90) pitched two scoreless innings and struck out five. RF Adam Boeve (.315) won it with a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning. In the nightcap, RHP Jason Roach (4-2, 1.79) allowed two runs in six innings. For the day, CF Vic Buttler (.297) went 4 for 8 with a double and two triples.
LYNCHBURG (16-16) beat Winston-Salem, 7-3. RHP Wardell Starling (2-1, 2.48) allowed two unearned runs in four innings. SS Brian Bixler (.316) went 2 for 3 with a walk and three runs.
HICKORY (13-19) won at Greenville, 18-10. RHP Romulo Sanchez (0-2, 8.10) allowed six runs in four innings. CF Andrew McCutchen (.323) went 2 for 7 with two triples and two RBIs.
First Published May 13, 2006 12:00 am