A.J. Burnett’s elbow “is the best it’s felt in a long, long time”

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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.

Mets scratch Jacob deGrom due to neck tightness

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PHILADELPHIA — The New York Mets have scratched two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom from his start against the Phillies on Friday.

DeGrom says he has neck tightness, but “everything is fine structurally” and he doesn’t plan to go on the injury list. The right-hander felt soreness playing catch after his last start. He threw from the mound Thursday and thought he could still pitch the opener of a three-game series in Philadelphia but will skip the outing as a precaution.

DeGrom is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts this season.