GM laughs off A.J. Burnett's shiner

Updated: September 19, 2010, 11:03 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

BALTIMORE -- There's nothing quite like a come-from-behind victory to brighten a general manager's mood.

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who made a special trip down here to keep an eye on his troubled team this weekend, was jovial, even goofy, in the Yankees dugout before Saturday night's game against the Orioles.

In fact, he even made light of the shiner sported by his pitcher, A.J. Burnett, on the mound in Friday night's game, decided by Alex Rodriguez's three-run homer in the ninth inning with the Yankees one strike away from their ninth loss in 11 games.

"He pitched great with that black eye," Cashman said. "Go out and get another one, you know? Maybe a couple of other guys on our staff could use one."

Day 2 of Shinergate was a lot more lighthearted than Day 1, considering the outcome of Friday night's series opener and the fact that Burnett brought his young son with him to the clubhouse, effectively deflecting any follow-up questions about how he suffered the injury that was on clear display throughout his seven innings of work.

"I don't know how he got it and I didn't ask," Cashman said. "I didn't want to know. All I know is his arm worked fine. His legs worked fine. He could see fine. So he had a black eye? So what? It happens."

How it happened continued to be a mystery, with several reporters making calls to local police stations to learn if any arrests or 911 calls involving the Yankees pitcher had been made over the past couple of days. Burnett flew ahead of the team on Wednesday to his offseason home in Monkton, Md., just north of Baltimore. The police said they had no record of any police activity involving Burnett.

"If there's anything, I'll find out, believe me," said Cashman. "There's no privacy in our society anymore."

But Cashman did not seem worried that anything troublesome would ultimately turn up. "If there was anything," he said, "I'm sure I would have heard by now. But I'm not worried about shiners."

Earlier, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked about the Tampa meeting with Burnett. "I think it was important to let him know he can't make up for lost time," Girardi said. "You take it step by step and he has to know that."

Girardi was then asked, in jest, if he had belted Burnett behind closed doors during the meeting. "No, no," he said. Then he laughed. Not long afterward, Cashman sat in the same spot and donned a pirate bandana and wig he had bought earlier in the day from a sidewalk vendor in the Inner Harbor.

"You want to write about something, write about this," he said.

Sometimes, it's all fun and games even after someone gets a black eye.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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