Pirates activate A.J. Burnett from the disabled list

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As planned, the Pirates have activated right-handed starter A.J. Burnett from the 15-day disabled list.

He will start for the Pirates on Sunday afternoon against the Cubs after sitting out for the past three-plus weeks because of a strained right calf muscle.

Burnett has registered a fantastic 3.12 ERA and 1.13 ERA in 14 starts this season, fanning 99 batters and issuing only 35 walks in 89 1/3 innings. The 36-year-old Arkansas native owns an impressive 3.39 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 in 291 2/3 total frames since joining Pittsburgh via a trade from the Yankees before the start of the 2012 campaign.

The Pirates enter play Sunday with one-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central.

Nick Pivetta to rejoin Phillies’ rotation

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Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Nick Pivetta will rejoin the Phillies’ rotation, starting Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Cardinals. Vince Velasquez will remain in the bullpen.

Pivetta, 26, allowed 17 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings across his first four starts of the season. The performance resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts there, Pivetta had a much better 3.41 ERA with a 50/20 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work.

Velasquez, 26, was solid as a starter, posting a 3.99 ERA across six starts. However, he averaged under five innings and 92 pitches per start. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday against the Brewers but was torched for four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. Mixed results, to say the least. The Phillies are trying to do what they can with their bullpen, currently missing David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Vìctor Arano.