Pirates starter A.J. Burnett went on the disabled list on Friday with inflammation in his right elbow. He’s set to undergo an MRI on Monday. His final pitch on July 30 against the Reds, which resulted in Billy Hamilton reaching after a throwing error by Pedro Alvarez, may have been the last of his career.
Per MLB.com’s Tom Singer:
“It’s either [the ulnar ligament],” said Burnett, who had the requisite Tommy John surgery for that in 2003, “or the flexor [tendon]. I’m prepared for both. Either way, I’m not going to be bothered by the result.”
Burnett rules out surgery and vowed to not return “if I can’t throw, or if I’m throwing what I was throwing the other night. I can’t do it to these guys.”
The 38-year-old right-hander plans to retire after the season. After a disappointing 2014 campaign with the Phillies — during which he pitched with an inguinal hernia — Burnett has put together a great season back in Pittsburgh, sitting on a 3.06 ERA with a 114/36 K/BB ratio in 135 1/3 innings.
If it’s curtains for Burnett, he finishes with 163 wins over 17 seasons along with a 3.99 ERA and 2,484 career strikeouts.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.