With apologies to the late Billy Martin for the above headline, the Yankees’ second game of the post-Steinbrenner era began with the sort of drama you’d associate with a prior era.  The tenure of Carl Pavano, anyway.   According to the New York Post’s Brian Costello, starter A.J. Burnett’s ineffective outing against Tampa yesterday was interrupted by an incident even Mel Gibson might think smacks of anger management problems.

Burnett slapped a double door in the Yankees clubhouse in frustration after allowing three runs to the Rays in the first two innings and cut both of his hands on hard plastic lineup-card holders.

Burnett initially lied to the trainers about how his injuries occurred, and pitched to two batters in the third before being removed in the 10-5 loss to the Rays.

He told trainer Steve Donohue that he fell while running up stairs. That story got relayed to manager Joe Girardi, who said it during an in-game interview on Fox, and to general manager Brian Cashman, who relayed the story to reporters who contacted him.

When the game ended, Burnett immediately sought out Donohue, Girardi and Cashman and told them the truth.

œI calmed down and realized that™s not appropriate and that™s not the truth and I™m an honest person, Burnett said. œI™m not the first person to snap. I didn™t break anything. I will make my next start, and I apologize for [being] misleading.

Compared to excuses offered by Jeff Kent and Clint Barmes, falling on a flight of stairs is slightly more believable, though if Burnett’s going to inflict injury on his own person, can’t he at least try punching himself in the face?