A.J. Burnett spoke with assembled media members and provided an update on his recovery from right elbow inflammation. Burnett was first placed on the disabled list on July 31, and threw at PNC Park before the Pirates
Though it was originally reported that Burnett would throw a three-inning simulated game, he ended up throwing close to 70 pitches and about five innings.
“The first inning was 16 pitches, sat, threw 12, sat, threw 20 sat, threw eight or nine sat, and then did it again,” Burnett said. “It was very productive, I got a lot out of it.”
Burnett, who in an earlier 35-pitch sim game threw exclusively fastballs added his off-speed pitches as well. He estimated that he threw 40-plus fastballs, 20 curveballs and six or seven changeups.
Additionally Burnett was a fan of the pitching format, preferring the game-like scenarios it provided as opposed to being held to having to throw a set amount of pitches. He called Sunday’s arrangement more useful.
The good news for Burnett continued when he expressed he felt much better than his last start, which came July 30 against the Cincinnati Reds.
Burnett believes the Chicago Cubs series in the middle of September is a realistic expectation for his return, though he mentioned he could come back before or after that timetable.
Chris Stewart called balls and strikes and briefly told reporters he thought Burnett’s bullpen session went well.
Burnett has made clear that when he returns, he wishes to do so as a starter. He does not want a rehab assignment or to be a bullpen arm. The next step is expected to be another bullpen outing, likely in a similar structure, with innings and amounts of pitches, in St. Louis.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign that Burnett is healthy is that he is feeling pain-free and felt he could carry the results into Sunday’s game.
“I don’t wanna say I could have pitched today, but maybe I could have pitched today,” said Burnett.
Photo credit: AP Photo