TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A.J. Burnett says he is pitching with a clear head. Through two spring training starts, it appears to be working for him.
Burnett threw three perfect innings and a New York Yankees split-squad beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-1 on Monday.
The 34-year-old right-hander is coming off a rough season, on and off the field. He cut both hands smacking a clubhouse door out of frustration and came to work one day with a black eye, refusing to say anything other than it wasn’t baseball-related.
He went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA in 2010, but it’s been a breeze so far this spring.
“My mind is clear,” Burnett said. “I’m not thinking about this and that.”
Burnett allowed two hits over two scoreless innings last Wednesday against Houston. On Monday, he had one strikeout — Ryan Howard swinging in the second — during a 45-pitch outing that included 30 strikes.
“I still got to build up,” he said. “The fact that I was in control and kept the ball pretty much where I wanted to, it was good work.”
Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run homer and Curtis Granderson also connected against Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt, who yielded five runs in 2 2-3 innings.
“Fastball was a little erratic,” Oswalt said.
Philadelphia is still without second baseman Chase Utley, who has been sidelined because of patellar tendinitis in his right knee.
Manager Charlie Manuel has been tinkering with the top of his lineup early on. The Phillies have scored 40 runs, including Wilson Valdez’s homer during the sixth, in 11 games.
“I need to get more creative,” Manuel said.
Yankees catcher Russell Martin, who had offseason surgery for a minor tear in his right knee, played in consecutive games for the first time.
“I felt better than I did yesterday,” he said.
Yankees relievers Joba Chamberlain and Pedro Feliciano both worked a 1-2-3 inning. Chamberlain got help in the fourth when right fielder Nick Swisher went tumbling over a short fence down the right-field line while catching Placido Polanco’s foul ball.
The Phillies did have a successful appeal play when Jorge Posada was called out for missing third base on what originally was an RBI single by Eric Chavez, who had three hits.
NOTES: Phillies RF Domonic Brown is scheduled have surgery Tuesday on his broken right hand. … Yankees RHP Rafael Soriano, the primary setup man for closer Mariano Rivera, retired all four batters he faced — including three strikeouts — during a 16-pitch simulated game. He is expected to see his first spring action this week. … Oswalt threw 54 pitches, including 35 strikes. … New York RHP Ivan Nova, competing for one of the final two spots in the rotation, made 54 pitches in a three-inning simulated game. … Yankees RHP Andrew Brackman (groin) is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday.
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