Pitcher Alex Burnett is with his third organization since spring training, trying to work his way back to the majors.
Norfolk, Va., is not his preferred destination, but at least Alex Burnett has been able to slow down and catch his breath.
“I’m good ... now,’’ he said on Friday.
Just over a month ago, Burnett was in Fort Myers, Fla., trying to solidify his place in the Twins bullpen. That bid failed (7.56 spring ERA), which started a few crazy weeks for the 25-year-old righthander as he got caught up in Toronto’s waiver madness.
Since March 16, the Blue Jays have either claimed a player off waivers or designated one for assignment 16 times. Since last October, they have landed 20 players through waivers. They are one organization that keeps a spot open on its 40-man roster as much as possible.
In many cases, Toronto has claimed a player and then designated him for assignment, trying to sneak him through waivers so it can send him to the minors. It’s an inexpensive way ($20,000 per claim) to build depth and beef up minor league teams. But it could also turn a player’s life upside down. Take Burnett’s case.
First, Burnett was cut from spring training — a move that not everyone with the club was on board with. Then the Twins tried to move him through waivers to take him off the 40-man roster. Toronto claimed him on March 29 and optioned him to Class AAA Buffalo, a move it could make because at the time he was on the 40-man roster.
But then Toronto designated him for assignment on April 10 to remove him from the 40-man, and he was claimed by the Orioles, who then optioned him to Class AAA Norfolk. On the move again.
“That’s the biggest part of the whole thing,’’ Burnett told sportsnet.ca at the time. “I had my wife with me in spring training, she’s pregnant, so that made it even worse. Otherwise she’d be with me right now. We had to go to Dunedin and I said, ‘You know what, honey? Everything is crazy right now, go home.’ I didn’t want her flying all over the place with me and moving.
“I had to break a lease in Minnesota because I figured I was going to be there, I had to get out of a lease in Buffalo, I had to get my car shipped from Minnesota to Buffalo, now I have to get it from Buffalo to God knows where right now. Yeah, it’s been a very crazy few weeks.”
Then Burnett was called up from Norfolk to Baltimore on April 22 and sent back down two days later. He’s thrown 7 ⅓ scoreless innings with Norfolk and would love to be called up in time for the Orioles’ visit to Target Field on Friday. Baltimore’s bullpen, however, entered the weekend with the fifth-best ERA in baseball.
His wife, Bridgette, is due Aug. 9. She’s in town for a visit now that things have stabilized.
“It was an eye-opener for me,’’ Burnett said of his situation, “something I’ve never been through but something I’ll definitely grow from.’’
|Boston||0||Top 5th Inning|
|San Francisco||0||Top 4th Inning|
|Texas||1||Bottom 4th Inning|
|Houston - S. Feldman||2:35 PM|
|Oakland - J. Samardzija|
|Miami - H. Alvarez||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - A. Harang|
|San Diego - T. Ross||7:05 PM|
|Chicago Cubs - E. Jackson|
|NY Mets - D. Gee||7:10 PM|
|Milwaukee - M. Garza|
|Chicago WSox - H. Noesi||7:10 PM|
|Minnesota - P. Hughes|
|Cleveland - C. Kluber||7:10 PM|
|Kansas City - D. Duffy|
|Detroit - M. Scherzer||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - G. Richards|
|Baltimore - W. Chen||9:10 PM|
|Seattle - H. Iwakuma|
|Real Salt Lake|
|Winnipeg||7/25/14 9:00 PM|
|Ottawa||7/26/14 6:00 PM|
|Toronto||7/26/14 9:00 PM|
|Winnipeg||7/31/14 6:00 PM|
|Toronto||8/1/14 6:00 PM|
|Brt Columbia||8/1/14 9:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||8/2/14 6:00 PM|
|New York||9:00 PM|