Burnett: "What If..."
A.J. Burnett

Posted Sep 29, 2006


A.J. Burnett didn't want to end his first season in Toronto asking "what if?"

An injury-plagued first half that cost him two months followed by a solid second half led to the inevitable questions regarding what may have been had Burnett been healthy the whole season.

Burnett finished the season with his 10th win in 21 starts Thursday in an 8-6 win over Detroit. He allowed five runs in 6 1/3 innings, giving him a 10-8 record in his first of five seasons with the Blue Jays (assuming he doesn't opt out after the third year, which is his right with the contract he signed).

Perhaps the most telling line of his postgame chat with the media was his last one when he told a departing media horde, "It's a different story when I'm healthy."

And while his career as a whole might not back that up, his first season in Toronto certainly did. Over his first 10 starts sandwiched around two trips to the injured list, Burnett was 2-5 with a 4.84 ERA.

In his final 11 starts, he was 8-3 with a 3.35 ERA.

"I just wish I could have stayed healthy," Burnett said. "I know it's out of my control, but I look forward to next season. That's all I can take from it. I had a positive 10 wins and move on to next year. Hopefully, I stay healthy and do a little more."

General manager J.P. Ricciardi, the man who signed Burnett to a five-year, $55 million deal in the offseason, said Burnett gave him what he expected when healthy.

"We knew the first year was going to be tough, in that he's coming to a new team, he's trying to justify living up to a new contract, all of that stuff went into it, but he's handled himself great. All his teammates like him, he mixes in well, he's a very good teammate. We're really, really excited. I think this is just the start of good things happening."

NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES

--C Gregg Zaun will make his first foray into television this fall. Zaun has been enlisted to serve as a Rogers Sportsnet analyst for the upcoming league championships and World Series.

--RF Alex Rios finished Thursday's game with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. He's batting .365 over his last 17 games.

--LHP B.J. Ryan nailed down his 37th save of the season on Thursday, moving him into sole possession of third place on the all-time single season saves list in Toronto.

--LF Reed Johnson leads all American League leadoff hitters with a .391 on-base percentage.

--The Blue Jays have received 26 home runs from the catcher position this season, which represents the most in a single season in club history. Bengie Molina has 17 and Gregg Zaun has nine from the catcher's position.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- The number of extra-base hits LHP Ted Lilly had allowed to left-handed hitters through Sept. 23.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Everybody knows what he's made of. He lays it out there every night. He throws a lot of innings, and sometimes that catches up with you late in the year." -- Manager John Gibbons, on RHP Roy Halladay, who will miss his final two starts of the season after suffering a strained right forearm in last Wednesday's game.

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Roy Halladay was hit in the right elbow by a line drive on Sept. 10. X-rays were negative, and he started on Sept. 15. He left his Sept. 20 start with a forearm strain, and he is out for the season.

RHP Jason Frasor was hit by a line drive in the right ankle on Sept. 19. X-rays were negative, but he didn't pitch Sept. 20-24. He returned to action Sept. 25.

RHP Pete Walker went on the disabled list July 8 with a rotator cuff injury that required season-ending surgery. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Sept. 5.


Related Stories
Two Mistakes Enough to Spoil Burnett's Night
 -by FutureJays.com  Sep 19, 2006
Burnett Continues to Experience Discomfort
 -by FutureJays.com  Apr 22, 2006
Burnett To Be Placed on Disabled List
 -by FutureJays.com  Mar 29, 2006

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