A.J. Burnett throws 70-pitch bullpen session, aims to return to Pirates rotation in two weeks

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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.

Dale Murphy’s son hit in eye by rubber bullet during protest

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Atlanta Braves legend Dale Murphy took to Twitter last night and talked about his son, who was injured while taking part in a protest in Denver.

Murphy said his son nearly lost his eye after he was hit in the face by a rubber bullet while peacefully marching. He later shared a photo (see below). “Luckily, his eye was saved due to a kind stranger that was handing out goggles to protestors shortly before the shooting and another kind stranger that drove him to the ER,” Murphy said.

Murphy had far more to say about the protests, however, than how it related to his son:

“As terrible as this experience has been, we know that it’s practically nothing compared to the systemic racism and violence against Black life that he was protesting in the first place. Black communities across America have been terrorized for centuries by excessive police force . . . If you’re a beneficiary of systemic racism, then you will not be able to dismantle it at no cost to yourself. You will have to put yourself at risk. It might not always result in being physically attacked, but it will require you to make yourself vulnerable.”