Kat O’Brien did an interview with AJ Burnett, and there were some interesting nuggets in it. Burnett has plenty of confidence, but understands the doubts that people have about his ability to stay healthy. He credits his relationship with Roy Halladay in helping learn how to best take care of his body. He also had this to say:
“I really wanted to stay in the American League East, from a competitive level,” Burnett said. “I really learned the American League hitters well over the last several years, and I wanted to come back in the American League East.”
Burnett said he paid closer attention to the hitters during his three years in Toronto, learning the opposition at a deeper level than he had previously. The studying paid off. In the past three seasons, Burnett went 19-7 with a 3.29 ERA in 34 starts against AL East clubs. Overall, he was 38-26 with a 3.94 ERA in that stretch.
Those are some stellar numbers against a division loaded with great hitters. It is refreshing to finally sign a free agent pitcher who wants to be in the spotlight of New York. If Burnett stays healthy, expect him to have a big year.
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