Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Marlins throw back Burnett; manager McKeon next?

ESPN.com news services

A.J. Burnett's days with the Marlins are numbered. So too, reportedly, might be manager Jack McKeon's.

A.J. Burnett
Starting Pitcher
Florida Marlins
Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L BB K ERA
32 12 12 79 198 3.44

The Marlins dismissed Burnett on Monday from the team after derogatory comments he made about the organization on Sunday. Meanwhile, a league source told the Miami Herald that at least one member of the Marlins front office doesn't believe McKeon will return to manage the team.

The Herald reported that Yankees bench coach Joe Girardi has been mentioned as a likely target to replace McKeon. McKeon is expected to discuss his future with owner Jeffery Loria this week, the newspaper reported.

On Monday, Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said Burnett has been asked to leave the team and will not be offered a multiyear contract during the offseason. The decision came a day after the pitcher said the team plays scared because McKeon and the coaching staff are too negative. Burnett popped off after losing his sixth decision in a row at Atlanta.

Beinfest said Burnett has not been suspended and will be paid for the rest of the season. However, the Palm Beach Post reported that the decision will cost Burnett a $50,000 bonus he would have received for pitching 210 innings. He has pitched 209 innings this season.

Burnett blasted the Marlins organization after a 5-3 loss in Atlanta on Sunday.

"I've got one more start here, and that's all that matters," Burnett said on Sunday, in an apparent reference to leaving the team as a free agent.

"It's depressing around here. 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," he said. "I haven't seen a pat on the back since April."

Asked who he was targeting with his criticism, Burnett said, "I'm not naming names."

Burnett becomes a free agent after the World Series. He went 12-12 this season with two shutouts, four complete games and a 3.44 ERA.

"This is something A.J. has to fix," the Marlins' Lenny Harris told the Palm Beach Post. "You have to talk to people individually; you don't just bring down the ship like that. He buried everybody."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.