The Mysterious Disappearance of A.J. Burnett

I thought I knew A.J. Burnett. I really did. He came to the Yankees and pitched like he was born to wear the pinstripes, and I trusted him.


Then, ever so surreptitiously, the good A.J. vanished into thin air, only to be replaced by an impostor.
The plot thickened tonight after the game in Baltimore. The Yankees may have beaten the O’s 9-6, thanks to five homers and excellent relief pitching, but the impostor stunk up the joint, yielding six runs on 11 hits over five plus innings, then skipped out. Suddenly, it dawned on me: Dave Eiland and Joe Girardi were of no help. It was up to me to solve the mystery of the disappearing A.J. So I hired a private investigator.
His name was Steve and he was a man of few words. He said he’d bring the good A.J. back and I believed him. He began his investigation by interviewing the players. He started with Posada.
“Did A.J. say anything to you?” Steve asked JoPo after Yankees media relations director Jason Zillo granted him access to the clubhouse. “Did he seem unduly upset?”
“I’m probably the wrong one to talk to,” said Jorge. “In the second inning, I stood there at home plate, not even realizing it was ball four. The umpire had to tell me to walk to first base.” He shrugged, embarrassed. “And in the fifth, I headed for the dugout on strike two. Jeter made fun of me. I was totally screwed up tonight, except that I hit a couple of dingers.”
Steve moved on to Swisher. “You’re a friendly guy – the type who notices what’s going on with people. Did you pick up anything unusual about A.J.? Something that would indicate his state of mind?”
“He yelled at himself after Pie went deep in the first,” said Swish, as he was getting congratulations for his latest homer at Camden Yards. “Some coach on the Orioles thought he was yelling at Pie and went ballistic. Are you telling me that it wasn’t the real A.J. who teed up that fat pitch?”
“Buddy, I’m the one asking the questions,” Steve barked and headed toward Hinske.
“I’m pretty new to the Yankees,” said Eric. “I don’t know anything about anybody.”
Steve took a long drag on his cigarette, then threw the butt on the floor and crushed it with the heel of his white shoe. “Hey, Cano,” he said.
Robbie danced over and high-fived the private eye. “Yeah, man. You lookin’ for A.J.? He took off.”
“I get that,” Steve said with a scowl. “Did he tell you when he’d be back?”
Cano laughed. “Si. October. Playoff time. He come back and do real good then. But right now?” He laughed again and blew a big pink bubble in Steve’s face. “His twin brother Gomer is pitching instead of him.”
HIS TWIN BROTHER?” Steve and I said at the same time. There was nothing in the Yankees media guide suggesting that A.J. Burnett had a twin brother named Gomer. And yet Cano knew the truth. Probably Melky knew it too.
“Well, that explains it,” I said. “Case closed.”
“Glad it worked out. Sounds like the Yankees will be just fine in the postseason.”
“I’m really relieved. Thanks. How can I ever show my gratitude?”
“I know you’re married, She-Fan, but…”


  1. PAUL

    If there was a disappearance, it was the real A.J. Burnett who’d disappeared and has now reappeared. This IS Burnett. He’s pitching according to what he is:
    The only saving grace is that he’s managed to stay healthy. Aside from that, you got what you got.
    On another note, did you happen to see David (Lil’ Davey) Wright’s new helmet?

  2. lenn23

    Hey, that’s some pretty good dialogue. If only they made film noir the way they used to! A.J. and Joba both better find their game soon. They are our starting pitchers for the playoffs since Cashman didn’t make any moves. If there’s one thing that Detroit has is good starting pitching and that’s who it’s beginning to look like we’ll play in the first round. One thing is for sure is that we’re starting to pile up the wins now. I kinda hope that Jeter stops hitting for a week. I want him to break the Gehrig hit record at Yankee Stadium and not in Toronto. That place is a mausoleum!


    Thanks for clearing that up, Jane. I was wondering the exact same thing. Like did they put something in that last pie or ….? As long as the real AJ returns I’ll be happy ๐Ÿ™‚ -Ellen


    Jane, just as in your novels, the detective dialog was so entertaining. Sad to say the story is not too far off of facts as far as A.J. is concerned. A few short weeks ago it was so compelling to know that the 1-2 punch (A.J. and C.C.) would all but guarantee wins. Our hitting is not going to be able to pull us out of a bad start in the post season so its going to be important for A.J. to settle down. If he could shut out Boston like he did in his part of that 15 inning win, he can be more consistent in Sept. and Oct. I have faith.

    Jeter was hysterical with Posada — glad to see that Jorge’s small mental miscues didn’t keep him from knocking two pitches over the wall. Thanks, we needed that.

    I agree, lenn23 – Jeter should break the record in the Bronx. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.


    Thanks for clearing up that mystery Jane. Obviously Gomer not only needs work on his pitching, but could also use a lesson on how to cover first base.

  6. Erin Kathleen

    If you’re not using Steve anymore, can I borrow him? We have the mysterious case of the disappearing good Nick Blackburn that someone needs to get to the bottom of. He seems to have resurfaced after being gone for a couple of months, but now he’s sporting a beard! Pretty shifty if you ask me.-Erin

  7. Tucker Elliot

    The really bad part about A.J. is he’s on my fantasy team — I’m afraid to not start him because you never know when he’s going to toss eight scoreless and fan 11 or 12 guys, but lately, yeah, I’d been better off sitting him. All it will take is for him to be right once a series in the postseason though, and then he’ll be a Yankee god.

  8. Jane Heller

    I did see David Wright’s helmet, Paul. It’s dorky all right, but if it saves batters from serious head injuries, I’m all for it and I hope the players are too. The fact that A.J. has managed to stay healthy all season long (so far – knock wood) is big. I think he’ll work out whatever’s gone wrong since that shutout of Boston and be just fine.

    It would be great if Jeter broke Gehrig’s record at home, Len. We shall see. But do you think Cashman should have made a move for a pitcher like the Dodgers and Angels did? Even with a more efficient A.J., I still think we’re one arm short.

    I really do think he’ll return, Ellen. He’s too good not to. Hopefully, it was a mechanical thing and now his confidence has taken a little hit. I’m still a fan of his.

    Posada must have had too many Starbucks coffees before last night’s game, Diane. Or maybe he didn’t have enough. It was total brain fade in those two at bats! A fine by the Kangaroo Court will be coming.

    Right you are, Melissa. Gomer didn’t cover first and paid the price. We really need A.J. back!

    Steve is excellent, Jeff. He told me he does a lot of work in Chicago for all the corrupt politicians. Whatever you need….

    Steve is all yours, Erin, although I might need him to track down the missing Joba at some point. He doesn’t work for free though, as the video indicated.

  9. Jane Heller

    “A Yankee god.” I like the sound of that, David. A.J.’s stuff is too nasty for him to disappear altogether, but if he were on my fantasy team I’d probably sit him too.

  10. Jane Heller

    It could be, Dillon. But I really think he’ll get it together. He’s going through a slump and he’ll come out of it. He has to.

  11. Jane Heller

    They’ve been dominating, Cat. I just hope A.J. figures things out and gets back to dominating on the mound. Btw, I just noticed how weird it is that my answers to the comments appear before the comments do!

  12. raysfanboy

    Love the word “surreptitiously.” I make sure my students learn it every year. That and “ubiquitous.”

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Burnett. I think most teams would take him and his occasional disappearing act right now. His ability to K is just staggering. He has some serious skills.

  13. devilabrit

    I think AJ should get with CC and get a line on how to be a pitcher in the post season, just in case they our 2 teams end up facing each other….:-) I wonder if I lit a cigarette and put on a hat like Steve’s I could fake it into the clubhouse..hmmmm
    Outside the Phillies Looking In

  14. Jane Heller

    I agree, raysfanboy. His stuff is nasty and he’ll get his mechanics right. So you liked “surreptitious,” huh? I like “ubiquitous” too.

    I don’t think Steve would get into the clubhouse with a cigarette, Peter. I was stretching there. It just seemed like a PI would be smoking – and wearing a hat. Rules be damned.

  15. ibleedpinstripes

    My comment got cut off. *sigh* What it had said was, “…I love old movies, especially To Have and Have Not. =) I’m glad Humphr… I mean, Steve, fished out that information about AJ’s [seemingly evil] twin brother Gomer. Can we sandbag that guy and get AJ back anytime before October? That would be ideal. I won’t settle for less than “good” next time around!”

    And end comment, LOL.

    – Lisa

  16. Jane Heller

    I’ll speak to Steve about hunting down A.J. before October, Lisa. Of course, he won’t do the job for free. I might have to pay him this time.

  17. TribeTed


    I think maybe Carlos Carrasco is the AJ imposter.

    He sure pitched like it last night:

    giving up 6 earned runs in 3 innings.

    I support him though.

    It was his first time out in the bigs;

    and no one was gonna baby him.

    I admire his will – power and his heart:

    but the kid got flat our massacred.

    The Yanks are lucky to have this AJ imposter for a change;

    you get to learn a lesson. The Yankees are capable of losing a game or two. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Good luck:



  18. Jane Heller

    LOL about Carrasco, TribeTed.

    I think CC is the best pitcher on the staff, Matthew. He just won his 16th game. But AJ has the talent for sure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s