It’s not clear when A.J. Burnett will make his Pirates’ debut, but he took a step in the right direction this morning in Bradenton, Florida.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Burnett threw 30 pitches — all fastballs — during his first side session since undergoing surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone in his right eye on March 2.
Burnett told Kovacevic that he’s dealing with some swelling, but isn’t having any problems with his vision. He’s currently focused on building up his arm strength and is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Monday.
“I felt a little better than I thought I would strength-wise,” Burnett said. “Things have been going well. We’re on the right track.”
Burnett was estimated to miss two to three months following surgery, so he’ll likely won’t join the Pirates’ starting rotation until May or June.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Indians manager Terry Francona has set his starting rotation for the first three games of the World Series against the Cubs. Corey Kluber will start Game One, followed by Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin for Games Two and Three, respectively.
Kluber, the ace of the staff, has had a terrific postseason. He’s made three starts with a 0.98 ERA and a 20/7 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings. The Indians won two of his starts — Game Two of the ALDS and Game 1 of the ALCS.
Bauer was unable to make it out of the first inning of his ALCS Game 3 start against the Blue Jays after the stitches on his pinky opened up and caused blood to pour out. He suffered the injury repairing one of his drones, which he builds as a hobby. Bauer insists he’ll be good to go in Game Two, though he also insisted that the injury wouldn’t be an impediment against the Jays.
Tomlin has made two solid starts for the Indians, allowing a total of three runs over 10 2/3 innings. The Indians won both games he started, Game 3 of the ALDS and Game 2 of the ALCS. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes that if Bauer can’t go in Game Two, Tomlin will be moved up to start in his place.