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.
“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.