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Burnett gets six games for inside pitch

Burnett gets six games for inside pitch

NEW YORK -- In a decision that A.J. Burnett has already chosen to appeal, Major League Baseball on Thursday suspended the Yankees pitcher six games and fined him an undisclosed amount for throwing near the head of a Rangers batter during the fifth inning of the Bombers' 12-3 victory on Tuesday.

"It's their decision," Burnett said. "I pitch inside all the time, and pitches get away. But I can't complain about it. I've just got to go with it and see what happens."

Both benches were warned Tuesday after Burnett knocked Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz to the ground with a fastball in the fifth inning -- one inning after Rangers starter Vicente Padilla hit Mark Teixeira for the second time in the game.

Afterward, Teixeira was outspoken in denouncing Padilla, his teammate for two seasons with the Rangers.

Padilla was not suspended for his role in Tuesday's game, but was fined an undisclosed amount.

"That's interesting," Burnett said of the discrepancy. "But that's their decision."

The Rangers reportedly requested outright waivers for Padilla following Tuesday's game, the first step in granting him his release -- and also a possible explanation for his lack of a suspension.

Burnett, who denied any intent after Tuesday's game, has never been suspended in his career.

"It looked bad," Burnett said. "Obviously, it was up tight, and anytime a ball goes up that close, it doesn't make a good statement. I can't do anything about it. The decision's made."

Burnett, a hard-thrower who routinely uses his fastball to pitch inside, said he was not entirely surprised when he learned of the suspension Tuesday morning.

"You kind of expect something to happen when a ball comes that close," Burnett said. "But things happen. We've got to go to court and appeal it, and we'll do that."

Regardless, he said he was not planning on changing his pitching style. Burnett is 4-2 with a 4.69 ERA this season, and has won 91 games over an 11-year career -- largely due to his best pitch, his fastball. This offseason, he signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal to join the Yankees.

"You can't change anything," Burnett said. "You saw the game after the warning. There were balls thrown inside. Pitchers still have to pitch their game. Hard-throwers throw hard balls that are going to get away. There are certain situations in the game and placements that make eyebrows raise, and that's what happened in this game."

Burnett's suspension will be held in abeyance until the appeal process is complete. Any reduction in the sentence would effectively render it null, as Burnett only pitches once every five games.

"I don't see why not," Burnett said of having the suspension reduced. "We'll find out."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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