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.
Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 40th home run in today’s 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. In so doing he become only the third player to hit 40 homers at age 21 or younger, joining Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Eddie Matthews, who hit 42 and 47, respectively, before turning 22. Ott was only 20 in fact.
Home run marks are a dime a dozen this year, of course, so maybe you want to discount Acuña’s accomplishment. Even if you do, though, you can’t discount his wheels. He didn’t have a stolen base this afternoon but he does have 37 on the year and has over a week to swipe three more. If he does he’ll become a member of the exclusive 40/40 club. It’s only current members: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano.
The Braves win clinches at least a tie for the NL East title. They’ll clinch the division outright if either they win or the Nationals lose tomorrow.