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Yankees, Pirates progressing toward Burnett deal

By Ronald Blum
AP Sports Writer / February 13, 2012
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NEW YORK—The New York Yankees and Pirates have made progress toward a trade that would send much-maligned pitcher A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh would pay at least $10 million of the $33 million Burnett is owed in the final two seasons of his $82.5 million, five-year contract, a person familiar with the discussions said Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.

The exact amount of money involved in the trade depends on the quality of the prospects the Yankees would receive, the person said.

Burnett, a 35-year-old right-hander, has struggled to a 34-35 record and 4.79 ERA during three seasons with New York and went 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA last year. His average of 3.98 walks per nine innings is second in the AL and fifth in the majors during that span among pitchers with 400 or more innings, according to STATS LLC.

New York appears to have an excess of starting pitchers after acquiring Michael Pineda from Seattle in a trade and agreeing to a one-year deal with free agent Hiroki Kuroda. They join holdovers CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.

In addition, the Yankees think highly of four starting prospects, right-handers Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and David Phelps, and left-hander Manny Banuelos. All are likely to start the season at Triple-A.

Burnett would join a rotation that includes newly signed Erik Bedard and returnees James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens. Charlie Morton is recovering from hip surgery in October. When Morton is available, Karstens could return to the bullpen and spot starts.

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