BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates Pitcher A.J. Burnett has tried to remember the best of the 2012 season even though it ended on a sour note.
“You’ve got to remember the positives,” Burnett said. “Last year was probably one of the funnest all-around years I’ve had in a long time. The guys in the locker room had a lot to do with that. The people in Pittsburgh had a lot to do with that… that allowed me to be myself.”
He said he can see why people are upset at the Pirates for continuing to lose, but he is convinced that real progress is being made.
“I understand that, from the outside, people are probably like, ‘How long is it going to take? Every year we’re losing but we’re learning,'” Burnett said. “They want results. We want results, too, and we get that, and it’s just as frustrating for us as it is for them. Batman — I’m a huge Batman fan — in one of his movies, the line in the movie, ‘Why do we fall down? We fall down so we learn how to get back up.’ And as bad as it was last year, you’ve got a lot of guys that learned… there are still young guys in there… and in each one of these falls, they learn… hopefully you don’t fall too many times, but you’ve got to get back up.”
Burnett also said he feels that James McDonald has to remember what he’s capable of.
“It’s upstairs with him. It’s confidence with him. I felt the same thing watching Charlie Morton throw a bullpen [session] yesterday, and you’re just like, ‘Why would you ever doubt yourself? I mean, look how good you are.’ With the first half that James McDonald had last year, he should never, ever doubt himself. I don’t care if he gives up a 900-foot home run, or has a game like I had in St. Louis. It’s just a game. Get it out of the way and move on.”
Burnett is especially confident in the skill set of Andrew McCutchen, and mentioned McCutchen in the same breath as an all-time great.
“I have never played with a young guy as composed as him,” Burnett said. “He really prepares himself. He really takes his whole persona so seriously, like he has been in the league for 10-plus years. I can’t compare him to anybody that I’ve played with. I’ve played with a lot of great players. In New York, I was locker mates with the greatest player ever, Derek Jeter — and a great man too — but he’s older now, and I didn’t get to play with Jeter when he was younger. But I have never played with a guy that can do what Andrew McCutchen can do on a consistent basis.”
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