Burnett tells teammates he's sorry

Updated: July 19, 2010, 12:20 PM ET
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com

[+] EnlargeA.J. Burnett
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesBurnett played catch with a teammate on Sunday, one day after cutting both his hands.

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett apologized to his teammates on Sunday, and doesn't think the cuts on his palms will keep him from making his next scheduled start on Friday.

But, as pitching coach Dave Eiland noted, Burnett's status for Friday night's game against the Kansas City Royals remains uncertain until team officials assess how he feels after a scheduled bullpen session on Tuesday.

"From what I'm hearing from the doctors, it shouldn't be an issue," Eiland said before Sunday's 9-5 Yankees win over the Tampa Bay Rays. "I can't sit here today and give you a solid answer, but we're all optimistic. … We'll know for sure on Tuesday."

Burnett cut both of his palms on Saturday when he slammed them into a clubhouse door in frustration between innings of his start against the Rays. He apparently cut his palms on a plastic holder fixed to the door.

The lacerations did not require stitches, but Burnett wore bandages on both palms in the clubhouse on Sunday.

Burnett said the bandages didn't affect the way he threw during an informal "long toss" session before Sunday's game. He threw with a teammate from a distance of about 100 feet.

"I feel the same," he said. "I didn't baby it or do anything different."

Burnett also talked to his teammates before Sunday's game, in what he called a group setting.

"That's between us," Burnett said when asked how his teammates reacted to his apology. "It's all in the past. It's over and I learned from it and hopefully everybody else learned from it, when it comes to [dealing with] emotions."

Derek Jeter grew a bit testy with reporters when asked about Burnett's self-inflicted injury on Sunday.

"I think A.J. addressed it already," Jeter said. "He doesn't have to address it with anyone in the media."

Manager Joe Girardi said he was concerned that Burnett lost his cool on Saturday, but less worried about the right-hander's ineffectiveness against the Rays. Burnett allowed four runs on four hits and struck out just one batter in two-plus innings.

"It's the pushing the door," Girardi said. "Who knows what would have happened if he didn't cut his hand."

"To me controlling your emotions and not hurting yourself and hurting the team's chances to win is more important," the manager added. "Because if you hurt yourself you have no chance to help us."

Burnett took the mound in the top of the third inning after the self-inflicted injury. He hit Evan Longoria to lead off the inning, allowed Longoria to take second on a wild pitch, and gave up an RBI single to Carlos Pena before Girardi lifted him.

Burnett initially told team trainers that he injured his hands after tripping down a set of stairs, but eventually came clean after he calmed down.

Injury or not, Saturday's start was yet another subpar outing for Burnett (7-8, 4.99 ERA), who's in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million deal.

Burnett, whose struggles to maintain his cool on the mound have been well-documented, has just one win in his past eight starts.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com

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