(photo by John Lembo)
A.J. Burnett wanted to make something clear during Monday morning's meeting with the media at Pirate City: His wife, Karen, has no problem with the friendly skies.
"My wife flies everywhere. Can I just say that real quick?" Burnett said a day after the Pirates aquired him in a trade with the New York Yankees.
Reports surfaced last week that Burnett nixed a deal to the Los Angeles Angels that would have sent outfielder Bobby Abreu to New York because Burnett's wife doesn't fly. While Burnett said he never spoke to the Angels about the trade, he said his family is the reason he can veto trades to West Coast teams.
The Burnetts live in Maryland and have two sons ages 10 and 7.
"Now they're in school," A.J. said of his kids. "I'm not going way over there. I've got nothing but respect for (the Angels) and (manager) Mike Scioscia. But it's just too far."
As for Karen...
"She met me on, I don't know, 15 trips last year...She loves to fly."
Burnett learned the deal to Pittsburgh was finalized Saturday while he was driving to Florida for spring training and didn't get bogged down in the trade talk.
"I stayed as far away from it as I could," he said. "I knew Pittsburgh was in it, I knew Cleveland and that's all I knew. And when management called, that's when I talked about it. Besides that, I just sat back and waited to see what happened."