Baby steps: A.J. Burnett throws three perfect innings

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It says a lot about how far A.J. Burnett has fallen that his throwing three perfect innings in an early March spring training game qualifies as news, but here we are.

Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Burnett threw 30 of 45 pitches for strikes yesterday and drew positive reviews from both catcher Russell Martin and manager Joe Girardi.

Girardi cited Burnett’s improved comfort level and mechanics, which were often out of sync as he went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA in 33 starts last season. Or as Burnett put it afterward: “My mind is clearer. I’m not thinking about this and that. I’m just attacking.”

Daniel Murphy had microfracture surgery on his right knee

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The Nationals announced today that second baseman Daniel Murphy had surgery on his right knee. The surgery: a debridement and microfracture procedure, which is pretty major.

The team’s comment about Murphy’s prognosis makes it sound major too: “rehab will begin immediately and will progress throughout the offseason.” No timetable. Just that it “will progress.” Well, I’d hope so. Let’s see if he’s ready for spring training.

Murphy hit .322/.384/.543, hit 23 homers and knocked in 93 RBI. Assuming he’s ready for the 2018 season, he’ll ply his trade for a new manager.