- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- A.J. Burnett threw a pie on Friday night and a tantrum on Saturday afternoon, causing him to leave the Yankees-Rays game just two batters into the third inning with lacerations on the palms of both hands caused when he slammed them in frustration against a clubhouse door.
But the Yankees say Burnett, who took the loss in Tampa Bay's 10-5 victory, would not miss a start due to the injury, which did not require stitches. "He's got a Band-Aid on both hands but nothing leads me to believe he won't make his next start," manager Joe Girardi said. "I've talked to our training staff, I've talked to our doctor and they all believe he'll be OK."
An off-day in the Yankee schedule on Monday also benefits Burnett, who will get an extra day's rest before his next scheduled start on Friday against the Kansas City Royals. Afterward, he apologized.
"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 was apparently set off after allowing a two-run home run to Reid Brignac with two outs in the second inning, a blow that gave the Rays a 3-0 lead. After Burnett originally claimed he hurt himself tripping on the stairs to the clubhouse and landing on his palms, Girardi allowed him to begin the third inning. But after Burnett hit Evan Longoria to start the inning, threw a wild pitch that advanced Longoria to second and then surrendered an RBI single to Carlos Pena, Girardi and Yankees trainer Gene Monahan came out to visit Burnett. Girardi then pulled him.
"After those two hitters, I didn't think he had the command he thought he would," Girardi said.
Even before the self-inflicted injury, the outing was a setback for Burnett (7-8, 4.99 ERA), who had pitched well in his two previous outings after a horrendous June in which he went 0-5 with an 11.35 ERA.
"I've been so good lately," a contrite Burnett said. "But I guess you get a reality check around here every once in a while."
Burnett allowed four runs on four hits while striking out just one. He has just one win in his last eight starts.
GM Brian Cashman said Burnett would not be disciplined by the club. Burnett said he would apologize to his teammates for his behavior before Sunday afternoon's game at the Stadium.