September 18, 2010
But as for the black mark under Burnett's right eye, we've yet to learn the identity of whoever — or whatever — left it there. Asked about his splendid shiner after the game, the New York Yankees pitcher refused to delve into the details, other than to say that it didn't come from baseball. (Whether that means it didn't come from a batted ball or the fist of a teammate in the clubhouse is up to our interpretation, I suppose.)
"I'm not going to comment on it, but I understand you guys have to ask," Burnett said after allowing three runs in seven innings. "There are more important things going on right now with this team than my eye. It was a huge win for us.
"Let's talk about baseball. I understand you have to ask, but I'm not going to comment on it."
Asked if the incident in which he sustained the facial injuries was baseball-related, Burnett replied "no," before joking "but it makes me look tough."
"It's something I had to deal with, I dealt with it, and I'll move on," he added.
This isn't Burnett's first scrape with a mysterious injury. Back in July, he pulled a Donna Martin by saying he cut both palms while falling down the stairs. He later recanted and said the injuries came from slamming them in frustration on plexiglass.
Whether or not Burnett, manager Joe Girardi and the rest of the Yankees clubhouse can keep up their omerta on the issue remains to be seen. But you can bet that the New York tabs are making like David Simon and working the Baltimore police department to see if anything happened when Burnett arrived in the city ahead of the team on Thursday.
Burnett, however, is right. When your main objective is figuring out a way to prevent Yankees fans from saying Hail Marys during the second game of every playoff series — a.k.a. the starts you'll make with your 5.08 ERA — steering free of any unneeded controversy is probably a good idea.