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Archive for Monday, September 26, 2005

Burnett eager to escape Marlins

Pitcher calls squad ‘depressing’ after poor outing; Rollins extends hitting streak to 30 games

September 26, 2005

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— Frustrated by the longest losing streak of his career and Florida's near-elimination from the NL playoff race, A.J. Burnett said Sunday he would not re-sign with the Marlins after the season.

"I've got one more start here, and that's all that matters," Burnett said of his apparent plans for free agency.

Burnett complained about a lack of positive reinforcement - seemingly from manager Jack McKeon and the Marlins' coaching staff.

"It's depressing around here," he said. "There's nothing positive around here. There's nothing positive on the staff now.

"You give up one home run, and it's a funeral. ... A positive pat on the back is better than anything. I haven't seen a pat on the back since April."

Unable to hold a 3-0 lead Sunday, Burnett fell to 12-12 with his sixth straight loss.

Despite his skid, Burnett has a 3.44 earned-run average and ranks among the NL leaders with 198 strikeouts - including eight Sunday - and four complete games.

As one of the top power pitchers in the game, Burnett would rank among the most attractive free agents this winter.

McKeon said Burnett was speaking out of frustration Sunday.

"Everybody gets frustrated at times," McKeon said. "I think sometimes you've got to look in the mirror. He's just frustrated. We certainly don't play. None of the coaches pitch or hit.

"This is a tough job playing in the big leagues. You're on a stage, everybody's on a stage. Everybody has to be held accountable."

Burnett was asked if something happened during Sunday's loss - which dropped Florida five games behind Houston with six to play - to spark his strong words.

"Not today, the season," Burnett said. "It's a waste. ... Kids are out there busting their butts, and there's still nothing but negativity."

McKeon said he couldn't explain Burnett's losing streak.

"He was still throwing 98 mph," McKeon said. "This guy can pitch a no-hitter any day. But you can't walk leadoff batters."

Burnett also ranks among the NL leaders with 79 walks, including four Sunday. He walked Chipper Jones to open the fourth inning and pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson to open the seventh, when the Braves took the lead. Both runners scored.

Rollins streak hits 30

Cincinnati - Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins led off Sunday's game in Cincinnati with a home run to extend his hitting streak to 30 games, the longest in the major leagues since 2003. Rollins' streak is the 39th of at least 30 games in major-league history and the 19th in National League history. It is the second-longest in Phillies history, one game shorter than Ed Delahanty's in 1899.

Yanks set attendance mark

New York - The New York Yankees set an American League attendance record when they drew their 43rd home sellout Sunday to increase their total to 4,090,696. The crowd of 55,136 at the 8-4 victory over Toronto left the Yankees with a major-league-leading average of 50,502 for their 81 home dates.

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