A.J. Burnett Arrives to camp, Image courtesy of Todd Zolecki of MLB.com
So much for talk of retiring #34 for Roy Halladay. Fans seemed split on our Facebook page when kicking around whether Philies Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay had done enough to warrant his uniform number being retired. Many of those who did not want to see the number retired felt it should be held out of circulation for a while. That speculation ended up really quickly today, as the Phillies have awarded the number to A.J. Burnett:
If you're interested, Halladay was asked about Burnett wearing No. 34. He said OK. No problem at all. Former teammates in Toronto.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) February 16, 2014
In the past, the Philllies have kept numbers of an impact player out of circulation for an extended period of time. Bobby Abreu's number 53 was held out until 2009, and Curt Schilling's from his 2000 trade through September 2006. The Phillies seemed prepared to do the same, before Halladay granted his blessing.
Though scheduled to report to camp wearing number 43, Luis Garcia showed up wearing number 57. Burnett had worn #43 for some of his most memorable moments in the majors, including when Burnett threw his no-hitter, and when he smashed a window of a truck in a vehicle carrying Billy the Marlin. Garcia switching numbers could have been a coincidence; Garcia wore number 57 last season and presumably was swtiching to accommodate pitcher Chad Gaudin, who was subsequentially released.