A.J. Burnett, baseball's losses leader, hints at discontent
A.J. Burnett, who will need hernia surgery sometime after the season, hinted after Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Padres that more health problems have compromised him.
SAN DIEGO — The 17th loss for A.J. Burnett looked much like the ones before it. He settled after a inauspicious start but issued a two-out walk that bred trouble. No pitcher in baseball has more losses — or walks — than the 37-year-old Burnett. Yet he controls his destiny with a $12.75 million player option for 2015.
Burnett, who will need hernia surgery sometime after the season, hinted after Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Padres that more health problems have compromised him.
"If I can lift my arm up at the end of the season then I might pitch," Burnett said. "We'll see how it goes."
Burnett has thrown 202 2/3 innings this season, his most since 2009. How does he feel now?
"Horse[bleep]," Burnett said.
When asked to explain, he said, "Just everything. I'm not making any excuses, bro. I messed up tonight. ... We'll talk when it's time to talk."
Burnett declined to describe his season until it is over. He has two more starts to make. He allowed five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings Tuesday to suffer his 17th loss. That is the most for a Phillies pitcher since Mark Leiter lost 17 in 1997. No Phillies pitcher has lost more than 17 games since Steve Carlton went 13-20 in 1973.
This, his 32d start, bumped his player option from $11.75 million to $12.75 million. He must decide within a week after the conclusion of the World Series whether he will play. That is a sum not easily surrendered.
Burnett said he has not been himself all season. "But I pitched the best I could," he said. He signed with the Phillies because he believed they offered him a chance at a championship.
"I expected a lot of things to be different," Burnett said. "A lot."
"I told you we'll discuss that when the time comes," Burnett said.
So, there is some drama for the season's final days.
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