Angels reliever Sean Burnett has been limited to just 13 appearances this season due to forearm and elbow injuries. And he’s still looking for answers.
According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, Burnett paid a visit to Dr. James Andrews today for the second time in the past five weeks. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the purpose of the visit was just to “make sure he’s moving in the right direction,” but the left-hander hasn’t progressed beyond throwing on flat ground.
Burnett, who had two bone spurs removed from his elbow during the offseason, landed on the disabled list at the end of April with forearm inflammation. He returned a month later, but appeared in just two games before hitting the disabled list again, this time with a left elbow impingement.
Coming off a 2.38 ERA in 70 appearances last season with the Nationals, the Angels signed Burnett to a two-year, $8 million contract in December. They’re hoping to get more out of their investment soon. Angels’ relievers are 13th in the majors this season with a 4.25 ERA.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.