Burnett finally paired with Martin in spring start

Burnett finally paired with Martin in spring start

BRADENTON, Fla. -- On March 27, in the penultimate game of the Pirates' preseason, all concerned thought it would be a good idea for A.J. Burnett to finally get acquainted with his Opening Day catcher.

Thus, on Wednesday Burnett finally threw to Russell Martin. For the very first time in Spring Training.

The introductions went well. The re-introductions, that is, the two having regularly joined forces as teammates on the 2011 New York Yankees.

"But I'm not the same guy I was in New York, and he realizes I'm different," Burnett said after going the first three innings of the Pirates' 7-4 loss to Minnesota. "I'm not the four-seam, curveball, just-let-it-go guy. I've done a lot [of adjustments] since then."

In their seven weeks together in camp, Martin has caught one of Burnett's side sessions, but was limited to DH-ing during the pitcher's early Grapefruit League outings. Since March 9, Burnett had been doing his pitching in Minor League games at Pirate City.

"It was good to see his breaking ball working today," said Martin, alluding to the fact pitchers weren't yet in breaking-ball shape the last time he caught Burnett. "It gives me confidence going into the season, to have seen his breaking ball and know what it's doing."

Burnett allowed four hits and two runs in his three innings, all he was meant to pitch. That was the reason manager Clint Hurdle had a DH in his lineup, knowing Burnett's turn would come up once at most.

"It felt good to get out there in front of the fans and my guys," Burnett said. "Spring, for a guy my age and with what I've done, is just for getting ready. I've done that, and I feel great."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.