High camp, lowdown, Feb. 20: A.J.’s Group-On

Pittsburgh pitchers are divided into four groups for their work routines, and first-timer A.J. Burnett on Monday was quickly lumped with other starters in Group C. Others in that work detail include Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens and Charlie Morton.

Different catchers are assigned to handle pitchers throwing sides and — shocker! — Burnett was paired with Rod Barajas, the first on-field reunion of the ’08 batterymates with the Blue Jays. …

Morton’s bullpen session confirmed manager Clint Hurdle’s early impressions of the right-hander’s rebound from hip surgery in October: “He continues to knock down every challenge. He’s probably ahead of schedule, so we’ve mapped out a new schedule for him. He feels good, is in a good place for February with his mechanics and his arm strength.” … 

All of Hurdle’s prior experience with Burnett has been as a foe, most directly in 2010, a season the Bucs skipper spent as the batting coach of the Texas Rangers.

“I tried to put together a program to challenge him multiple times,” Hurdle recalled.

Hurdle must be hoping opposing batting coaches now will have as much difficulty with that as he did: In three starts that season against the Rangers, Burnett had 17 strikeouts in 18 innings while allowing five earned runs, an ERA of 2.50. …

The message on Burnett’s wristband: “Be unstoppable!” …

Burnett, on the reasons behind his outstanding 2008 season, when he went 18-10 for Toronto: “Probably (Barajas), blocking all those curveballs in the dirt. He’s probably one of the finest catchers I’ve ever thrown to. He’s a hard worker, keeps you on track. I’m looking forward to working with him again.” …

Quote of the Day:

  • “It’s not the hours you put into your work that counts — it’s the work you put into the hours.”


thanks tom you lucky dog you.

Tom – I’ll be down in Bradenton for the early games with the Orioles and Yankees. Would you expect that on the Monday between those games there will be any activity at their camp that would be open to the public? If so, what time would you suggest I get there?

Will check. Watch this space tomorrow.

Update: By then, the Pirate City camp will have been turned over to the Minor Leaguers. The big boys, however, will work out, beginning approximately at 1 p.m., at McKechnie Field before leaving for that night’s exhibition in nearby Sarasota.

What is the point in rushing Charley Morton??? He is coming off of surgery on his hip and pitching puts a strain on the hips as well as other body parts. There is six starters and hot rod Lincoln to pick up the slack.

Thanks a lot Tom, exactly what I needed to know. Am skipping Monday night’s game, Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa is calling my name. Want to join us?

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