Newly acquired Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett is now out two-to-three months with a facial fracture.
This incident happened just nearly a week after the Pirates acquired him in a trade with the Yankees.
Burnett was taking batting practice, and as he leaned over to put a bunt down, he tipped the ball off of the top of the bat resulting in it shooting towards his right eye. It collided hard, and as a result, he has been sidelined indefinitely.
Burnett was looking to be the veteran presence on the team, as he is 35-years-old now. The Pirates were also looking to have him start on Opening Day, which is April 5.
With Burnett now gone, I have a feeling that this Pirates pitching rotation took a bigger hit then people tend to let on. The rotation now is led by Erik Bedard, and rounded out by other underrated pitchers such as James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, and Kevin Correia. With such uncertainty in the rotation, it’s hard to believe you can make it anywhere this year.
Sure the Pirates are most likely not going to make the playoffs, but with Burnett in the mix, he gave them something to rely on in a way. Burnett has not been the most reliable pitcher in the past three years, going 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA, but the simple fact of having that veteran presence concerns me. Erik Bedard can’t lead this rotation, and so I feel they need the “Golden Boy”.
In the end, Burnett will be back sooner or later. It’s going to take a good time for him to get his form back, and no one can even brag about his earlier performances. All in all, expect Burnett to make a difference in the Pirates rotation, just not a grand one.
Some stats were used from the Huffington Post, which you can check out here.
Check out A.J. Burnett’s injury video here.
Follow Richard Dooley on Twitter @RDSimpleSport