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A.J. Burnett Trade: Pitcher Was A Mentor For Ivan Nova With Yankees

A.J. Burnett is on the verge of joining the Pirates rotation and he could bring more to the table than just his pitching talents. As Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal reports, Burnett was a good influence on a number of young pitchers with the Yankees.

Despite his performance, Burnett was popular in some quarters of the Yankee clubhouse for his antics – he would smash a shaving cream pie in the face of any player who delivered a walk-off hit – and his willingness to work with younger players. Starter Ivan Nova, in particular, befriended Burnett, and with the news of his looming trade Friday, Nova could do little but shrug at the loss of a friend and mentor.

"I like him, he's a good guy, but what can I say about it?,'' Nova said. "It's a business, man.''

Nova had a strong rookie season in 2011, finishing with a 16-4 record, 3.70 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 165.1 innings. Pirates fans can hope that Burnett, 35, can similarly mentor younger pitchers like Charlie Morton (28) and James McDonald (27) in Pittsburgh's rotation.

For more on the A.J. Burnett trade, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.