When camp opened [A.J. Burnett] and first-year pitching coach Larry Rothschild focused on reducing the right-hander’s side-to-side movement, something that robbed him of velocity and sharpness with the breaking ball.
Rothschild gave Burnett drills to reinforce the changes, and they are part of the daily routine…
…“For the first time out, the adjustment to his mechanics and he threw ground balls, I am pleased,” Girardi said. “He is more toward the plate. I think he had one he pulled off a little bit, not as drastic as before.”
For as bad as Burnett was last season, it is important to remember that A.J. has the potential to be a pretty good pitcher. It might not be so easy to fix him, but it certainly is possible. Former pitching coach Dave Eiland certainly tried, but when he missed a month of the season Burnett struggled and working to fix his mechanics midseason certainly didn’t work.
He’s spent extra time with new pitching coach Larry Rothschild in the offseason. The combination of that effort and a new set of eyes looking at the problem may be just the thing that Burnett needs to regain his confidence and his career.
One spring outing is not nearly enough to judge him on though, but it’s a start. Hopefully he can continue to work on his mechanics in spring and be ready to go when the season starts. After all, a lot is riding on Burnett this year.