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October 18, 2010

A.J. Burnett


Q. I'm sure you've heard all the talk in the last few days, people questioning whether you should start or CC should go on short rest. Does any of this motivate you, irritate you, anything?
A.J. BURNETT: To be honest with you, I hear it everywhere, but I'm not really paying attention to it. I was told when I was pitching, and I was preparing myself to pitch until told otherwise.
I know a lot of things have been written. I don't read a lot. I don't dig into it too much, but I do go off with everyday people that I meet at breakfast and lunch and stuff and it's been nothing but positive towards me. I'm just going at it as it's my turn to pitch in Game 4 of the AL Championship.

Q. Is the approach any different when you're struggling like you have been the last few months, and when you're in a good groove like you were at times last year?
A.J. BURNETT: Well, from the work I've been doing, I'm in a pretty good groove. I haven't pitched in a long time, so I haven't struggled in a long time.
I don't worry about what's happened, from my sim game to the work I've done to where I am, I'm where I need to be.

Q. What are the challenges of pitching after such a long layoff in a game that obviously has as much pressure as tomorrow will?
A.J. BURNETT: I don't think about it. I go out like I threw five days ago and go with that mind-set. I was telling somebody, I've done more flat grounds because I've been throwing to Moseley, he's a bullpen guy, and normally I'm a starter and throwing in between starts. I've been doing a lot of things between my sim game that I'm confident with where I need to be. I'm not going to go into it thinking I'm going to be rusty or where is it going to go. I'll be all right.

Q. We don't know yet who is going to be catching you tomorrow, but if it's Posada, you have not worked together in a long time, is there any kind of challenge or do you have to get re-familiar with each other type thing if he is behind the plate for you?
A.J. BURNETT: Not really. The past couple outings, well, not last couple but, two or three, he's come in late to catch for Cervelli. We are both confident with each other, and I have no worries Jorge can handle me. I know he can handle me. Whoever is behind the plate, I'll be ready for it.

Q. Playoff games can be hard enough when you're having a good year. How hard is it to get yourself up for this when you've had the type of year you've had?
A.J. BURNETT: It's easier for me, because I've had a rough one.
I'm going to feed off what I did last year. I told a few people, my seasons have been similar. The only difference is that I have three or four good games toward the end last year where everybody is more confident.
But I feel great. I feel like I'm where I need to be. It's been a long time since I've been on the mound, but I mean, like I said, I'm sharp and I expect things to go as normal A.J.

Q. What do you find is the difference in your mechanics when you're able to locate breaking balls and when you're not?
A.J. BURNETT: It's a good question. Eyesight. Eyesight is a big key for me. I think last thing I start thinking about is mechanics. When I go ball one, I don't need to start thinking, oh, God, what's this, what's that. I just need to get the ball and focus on my next pitch. And I think when I start thinking too much about it, that's when I start going haywire with the mechanics.
Curveball, it's going to be a big one that I can get over with strikes. I don't worry about mechanics. My priority is to throw strikes.

Q. Whose eyesight, yours or the umpire's?
A.J. BURNETT: No, raise my sight.

Q. Raise your --
Yes, raise my eyes. A lot of times, I mentioned bringing my curveball out early to get it going but it's more effective the first strike obviously. But the ones I've been bringing out lately are low in the zone and not biting on it. So instead of not worrying about everything else and the delivery of my mechanics, just raise my eyesight a little bit.

Q. When you walked in, I heard you saying you had not been reading anything, criticism or anything, but Joe brought up the possibility that when players are criticized or doubted in the media or fans, that it can motivate them in a positive way. Are you the type that this can motivate you?
A.J. BURNETT: Well, I'm definitely motivated but at the same time, I'm pretty hard on myself. I don't think anything I've done since I've been here besides the post-season has been worth anything. So I'm not happy with my season.
I'm not going to look into it as they are right and I'm right and they are right and I'm wrong. It's kind of motivating me. My season is motivating me; so, a lot of things.

Q. When you beat the Phillies in Game 2 last year, what was working for you, and what kind of groove were you in in that game?
A.J. BURNETT: The curveball was for strikes. The two-seamers in, two-seamers away, I threw everything. I just pitched. But when you are in the zone or locked in, it goes by so fast, you don't realize it till you're over. I was ahead of a lot of guys and I threw my off-speed for strikes.

Q. You said you treat this like a regular start. Is that, difficult, though, with ALCS, you just talked about you aren't happy with your season; is it difficult to not put too much emphasis on this?
A.J. BURNETT: No, I meant regular start, as in I just pitched five days ago. This is definitely a lot more important than a regular start. So let's clear that, sorry.
Far as me being on a routine, I'm going to go in that way, but I have every idea of how important the game is.

Q. In terms of your routine, can you take us through when you do in the morning and the day?
A.J. BURNETT: Absolutely not. (Laughter.) That's my routine, man. That's my stuff.

Q. You've been asked a lot of these questions now for about a week, talking about this upcoming start and your season and all that. Has it been a long couple weeks for you having to talk about all this without really having a chance to just go out and pitch?
A.J. BURNETT: You know, not really. It's just been longer because I haven't pitched, but you know, where I was at in Minnesota, you know, I was in the bullpen, so I saw the game from a totally different perspective and I got to see some guys do their thing that I don't normally get to see. I got to see Mo get up in the pen. I didn't think I would have to throw but you have in the back of your mind, I might have to get in one of these games. It was smooth. I knew my role. The fact that I wasn't pitching held up, but it was smooth and quick.

Q. The pressure you might feel to put on a good performance, does that change if it's down 2 games to 1 versus up 2 to 1?
A.J. BURNETT: They are both important, whether I'm up or down. I'm going to go out and attack and try to dominate regardless.
Sorry I was late, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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