Pirates starter A.J. Burnett threw a simulated game on Friday, and will throw a bullpen session on Sunday, MLB.com’s Tom Singer reports. The right-hander said, “I expect to be throwing soon for the Pirates, because I feel great.”
Burnett hasn’t pitched since late July due to inflammation in his right elbow. There was some concern that the 38-year-old veteran might have thrown his last pitch in the majors, as he plans to retire after the season. However, it sounds as if a mid-September return is in the cards, which would give him three or four starts.
Burnett currently holds a 3.06 ERA with a 114/36 K/BB ratio over 135 1/3 innings.
A.J. Burnett has been out since late July with a strained flexor tendon in his right arm. There was some thought initially that the injury would be a season-ender (and thus career-ender) for the 38-year-old, but he’s beginning to make significant progress.
Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette tweets that Burnett threw around 70 pitches in a bullpen workout Sunday and reported feeling great. The veteran starter is aiming to return for a big four-game series against the Cubs on September 15-17.
Burnett was sporting a cool 3.06 ERA in 21 starts with the Bucs before landing on the disabled list. J.A Happ has been filling his rotation spot and is actually pitching quite well, but that’s doubtful to last.
Pittsburgh entered play Sunday with a firm hold on the first National League Wild Card.
And the Bucs only trail the Cardinals by 3 1/2 games in the National League Central.
A.J. Burnett is on the disabled list with an elbow injury and has said repeatedly that he plans to retire after the season, so the Pirates right-hander is working hard to make it back in September.
Burnett threw a two-inning, 35-pitch simulated game Tuesday and told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that his elbow “is the best it’s felt in a long, long time.”
Brink reports that he’ll throw another simulated game Sunday, at which point the Pirates should have a better idea about Burnett’s potential return timetable following a platelet-rich plasma injection to aid the healing process.
Burnett made the All-Star team by going 7-3 with a 2.11 ERA in the first half, but the 38-year-old struggled in three second-half starts before being shut down.