A.J. Burnett is targeting a return to the Pittsburgh Pirates active line-up in mid-September. The veteran right-hander is expected to suit up in the team’s series against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 15 to 17 after struggling with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow earlier in the season.
A.J. Burnett said he felt really, really good in a 70ish-pitch bullpen today. "No comparison" to how he felt in July. Circling Cubs series.
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) August 30, 2015
"It was good, better than expected," Burnett, who has been out since late July, said to ESPN. "The pain is gone and I feel good."
The 38-year-old Burnett’s injury was feared to be season-ending or career-ending, but he made significant progress on the elbow the past few weeks. Burnett, who took a pay cut to return to Pittsburgh, is expected to be playing the final year of his MLB career.
“I don’t wanna say I could have pitched today, but maybe I could have pitched today,” Burnett, who reportedly claimed that he did not feel any more pain after the bullpen session on Sunday, added in another tweet.
Burnett is a 16-year MLB veteran, who saw stints with the Florida Marlins (1999 to 2005), Toronto Blue Jays (2006 to 2008), New York Yankees (2009 to 2011), Phillies (2014) and Pirates (2012 to 2013 and 2015). Before the elbow injury, Burnett played in 21 games for the Pirates logging in a 3.06 ERA with 114 strikeouts and a win-loss record of 8-5.
The Pirates are currently contending for a postseason slot with a 79-50 win-loss record so far in the 2015 MLB season.