Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett is expected to return in four weeks after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his injured elbow, the team announced Monday. Burnett’s injury was diagnosed as a strain of the flexor tendon, not a season- and career-ending injury to the ulnar collateral ligament, which he and the team had feared was possible.
On Friday, the Pirates placed Burnett on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, and he was sent for further tests to determine the exact nature of the injury.
After he exited Thursday's game with pain in his elbow, Burnett predicted his injury would either be to his ulnar collateral ligament, which he had surgically repaired through Tommy John surgery in 2003, or to his flexor tendon. A UCL injury could have meant an end to both his season and career, which he has previously said would likely end after 2015.
This season, Burnett, 38, is 8–5 with a 3.06 ERA in 21 starts. He has struck out 114 batters and given up a National League-leading 145 hits in 135 1/3 innings. With a 61–43 record, the Pirates are in second place in the NL Central and are in sole possession of the first NL Wild Card spot.
- Erin Flynn