On the disabled list with strained flexor tendon in his elbow that threatens to end his season and by extension his career, Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett is making steady progress in his recovery.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that Burnett “feels good” after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection and could be close to throwing off a mound.
Hurdle hinted that convincing Burnett to be honest with the Pirates about how he feels will be key, because as a 38-year-old pitcher planning to retire after the season the temptation may be there to simply come back at any cost.
Burnett made the All-Star team by going 7-3 with a 2.11 ERA in the first half, but then allowed 19 runs in 16 innings over his first three post-break starts and was shut down.
Rockies reliever Seunghwan Oh recently said to the Yonhap News Agency that he wanted to return to South Korea to finish out his career. He has one year and $2.5 million remaining. His 2019 club option became guaranteed when he reached 70 appearances in the 2018 regular season. It sounded like Oh didn’t want to pitch for the Rockies next season. Oh said, “I am a bit exhausted after spending five seasons in Japan and the United States. I feel like I want to return to the KBO while I still have the energy to help the team and pitch in front of home fans. I can’t make this decision alone. I’ll have to speak with my agency about the next season.”
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has a different sense of the situation, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Bridich said, “From what we have been told, it was much ado about nothing regarding Oh. His comments to the Korean media were not specifically about 2019. It was more about ending his career there. Our understanding is that he has every intention of honoring his current contract.”
Oh, 36, pitched 68 1/3 innings this past season between the Blue Jays (47 innings) and Rockies (21 1/3). In aggregate, he posted a 2.63 ERA with a 79/17 K/BB ratio in 68 1/3 innings. The Rockies have the bulk of their bullpen returning next year, save for Adam Ottavino who is a free agent.