A.J. to Pirates "has legs''

So says a source intimately familiar with the negotiations between the Yankees and the Pirates to move A.J. Burnett and his hefty contract between now and the start of the season. According to the source, the hangup is "money and players,'' namely, how much of the $33 million remaining on Burnett's contract the Yankees are willing to eat and which player(s) the Pirates are willing to part with. Rightfielder Garrett Jones, a left-handed bat whom the Yankees coveted, is definitely off the table. Still, the source said "This thing has legs and it is real. There's a chance something will happen there, although not today.''

The source also said freeing up money from the dumping of A.J.'s contract would have no bearing on whom the Yankees sign as a DH, or even if they will, whether it is Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui. "Whoever it is is going to have to play for $1 million to $2 million,'' the source said. "(The Yankees) are already over budget, so it doesn't matter how much they save on Burnett. One thing has nothing to do with the other.''

The Yankees pursuit of a reserve outfielder seems to reduce the chances of a return by Eric Chavez, since the club appears willing to go with a combination of Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena and possibly Brandon Laird as backups for Alex Rodriguez and the other infielders.