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Marlins send A.J. Burnett home

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Drama in Florida...with rumors already swirling that the Marlins may have to trade Carlos Delgado this offseason because of financial constraints, free-agent-to-be pitcher A.J. Burnett has been sent home for the rest of the season by the Marlins, in the wake of drama on Sunday:

He reeled off victories in seven straight starts before going on a six-game losing streak that culminated Sunday in Atlanta. Afterward, he and third-base coach Jeff Cox got into a shouting match over a baserunning play, and Burnett then lobbed criticisms at the team in comments to reporters.

''We play scared. We manage scared. We coach scared,'' Burnett said. ``I'm sick of it man. It's depressing around here. There's just too much negativity.''

Burnett had a 3-0 lead but lost it when the Braves' Marcus Giles hit a two-run homer.

''It's a 3-0 ball game, and I give up one run and leave guys on base, and it's like they expect us to mess up,'' Burnett said. ``And then when we do, they chew your [butt] out. There's no positive nothing around here for anybody. I give up a home run, and it's a funeral.''

Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard says good riddance to Burnett in a surprisingly harsh column, saying "[t]hings are bad enough around this short-circuited team without your special brand of poison."

Weird stuff.

Doesn't change my position on Burnett, of course. He's still another Kerry Wood...great arm, great stuff, results that don't quite match up. An ace reputation with a middle-of-the-rotation track record. A significant injury history, and a pitching style that suggests that more injuries may be on the way.

Given the importance Buck and Hart have been placing on clubhouse chemistry and the good face, this may quell some of the interest the Rangers might have in Burnett this offseason. This may also lower Burnett's asking price a bit, but I still think we are talking Chan Ho territory (5 years, $65 million) to get Burnett to Texas, and I don't think he's worth near that much.

However, T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers are still planning on pursuing Burnett. We'll see...