UPDATE: Oy, it’s now been confirmed that Burnett will miss 8-10 weeks. Wowzers.
8:50 AM: The Pirates have yet to say how much time A.J. Burnett will miss in the wake of surgery-requiring broken orbital bone, but a couple of people with some level of insight into the matter have weighed in. Of course they don’t agree.
An eye specialist told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Burnett would probably miss “two to four weeks.” Meanwhile, Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record — who broke his own orbital bone and had similar surgery a couple of years ago — said that it could be 6-8 weeks until he’s ready to go. Based on past tweets, I understand that Klapisch is quite physically active and plays baseball himself and stuff, so his opinion is pretty informed from at least a practical standpoint.
Who knows? I saw some people on Twitter saying “it’s just his eye, how can it affect his pitching all that much.” Which, whatever. Pitching motions are violent and I can’t imagine it feels good to throw a baseball 90+ miles per hour when your face bones are being held together with zip ties.
Whatever the case, unusual injuries like this to non-baseball-handling or running parts tend to be the most unpredictable, so I’d believe anything about A.J.’s recovery schedule at this point.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.