Sean Burnett went nearly an entire year between appearances for the Angels thanks to elbow surgery, finally returning to the bullpen last week. And now, after all of three games and two-thirds of an inning, he’s headed back to the disabled list with more elbow problems.
Burnett exited Tuesday’s game with elbow soreness and Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that the left-hander’s “eyes welled up and he had to walk away from the interview” with reporters in the clubhouse afterward.
Angels teammate Jered Weaver offered some thoughts on the sad setback:
He’s worked his ass off to get back to this poin. He’s a great guy, man. He wants to go out there and he wants to help his team win. I know he’s very frustrated. Tough time for him right now. Hopefully when they get results back of whatever they’re going to do tomorrow, hopefully it’s not as serious as something torn or something like that. It’s tough, man.
Exactly. Pitchers get hurt. That’s just part of the gig. But when they fight their way back after lengthy stints on the sidelines only to immediately get hurt again … that just doesn’t seem fair.
Burnett has thrown just 10.1 innings as part of a two-year, $8 million deal with the Angels and it’s a shame too, because during the previous four seasons he tossed 234 innings with a combined 2.85 ERA for the Pirates and Nationals.
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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.
Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.
According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.
Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.
Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.