Rothschild: A.J. can make it back

Had a chat with new Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild Monday afternoon. He told me he spent a few days earlier this month at A.J. Burnett's home in Maryland getting to know the number-one priorty on his to-do list for this season. Burnett worked out for him, including throwing off flat ground, and the two watched tape together and talked pitching. Rothschild came away with the impression that Burnett, who turned 34 on Jan. 3 --the same day I turned slightly older -- still has a lot of good basebal left in him.

"He's healthy, the stuff is still there, and his mind and heart are in the right place,'' Rothschild said. "He wants to do well, and I believe I can help him to do that.''

Rothschild said the memory of Burnett's miserable 2010 season --10-15, 5.26 ERA and two entire months, June and August, in which he did not win a single game while losing 10 times -- may be impetus enough for him to rebound with a good 2011. "Nobody wants to have a year like he had,'' Rothschild said. "Maybe that alone will be the boost he needs to get better.''

Rothschild said he has made has made contact with all 32 pitchers expected in camp beginning on Feb. 14 -- make that 33 with the addition today of Freddy Garcia -- and has been working with some of the young pitchers who are already in Tampa to get a jump on spring training. He seemed especially impressed with Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman, both of whom are expected to begin the season in Triple A.

"They're both big kids (betances is 6-8, Brackman 6-10) and it usually takes those types a while to harness their deliveries,'' he said. "But they both seem to be getting there and Brackman has done a really good job of repeating his delivery so far in the three or four times I've worked with him.''