The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

March 4, 2013

Burnett shaky in spring start

BRADENTON, Fla. — A.J. Burnett lasted just 1 1⁄3 innings Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies, struggling with his control as his pitch count climbed to 51.

The Pittsburgh Pirates ace, preparing for an opening-day start against the Chicago Cubs, walked in a pair of runs in a four-run second during a 5-0 loss, giving up four runs, four hits and the two walks.

“All I’m worried about is April 1 and building up to that date,” Burnett said.

Burnett issued consecutive walks to Humberto Quintero and Ben Revere that forced in two runs. Later in the inning, Chase Utley worked reliever Kris Johnson for another bases-loaded walk.

“Walking guys with the bases loaded at this point in the spring doesn’t bother me because I was trying to be aggressive in that situation,” Burnett said. “Any time you take the mound you want to do well, but it’s spring training and results really don’t matter. The whole idea is to just to get your work in and keep building up arm strength for the regular season.”

Phillies fifth starter John Lannan and four relievers combined on a one-hitter. Lannan gave up the Pirates’ only hit, a two-out double by Travis Snider in the first, and walked two during three scoreless innings.

Lannan has allowed one run in five innings in his first two starts. He signed a $5 million, one-year deal with Philadelphia after Washington allowed him to go free.

“I just felt like I had a good rhythm,” Lannan said. “My fastball felt good and I had a good mix with Quintero back there catching.  I wish I wouldn’t have walked the two guys. Other than that, though, I was happy.”

Mike Adams, signed to a $12 million, two-year contract, followed Lannan and pitched one perfect inning with one strikeout. Rookie left-hander Adam Morgan followed with three innings and Raul Valdes got the final six outs.

“Our pitching looked real sharp,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. “Lannan looked really good. He has a lot of motion in his delivery and it’s tough for the hitters to pick up his pitches.”

Michael Young had two hits and two RBIs for Philadelphia. Revere and Yuniesky Betancourt also had two hits in helping send Pittsburgh to its seventh loss in eight games.

“It’s been a real good spring for us,” Manuel said. “We’ve been working real hard, and we’ve started hitting the last three or four days. The pitching has been good and now we’re starting to swing the bats the way I know we can.”

Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates’ No. 2 starter, pitched three scoreless innings. He then departed for San Juan to join the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy gave a pregame speech to the Pirates and also spoke to players at Pittsburgh’s minor league complex.

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