Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, right, shares a laugh with pitcher A.J. Burnett after finishing a bullpen session during the first day of spring training baseball workouts for Pirates pitchers and catchers in Bradenton, Fla., Thursday, Feb.
Gene J. Puskar
February 23, 2015

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) A.J. Burnett is back where he once belonged.

The veteran pitcher is eager to return to work in Pittsburgh after spending 2014 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Burnett won 26 games for the Pirates in 2012 and 2013. His presence helped turn Pittsburgh into contenders, but he left as a free agent last spring to sign a lucrative deal with the Phillies.

Burnett struggled with Philadelphia. His 18 losses were the most in the majors and he spent most of the season pitching with a sports hernia. He underwent surgery shortly after the season ended and focused on ending his career on a high note.

Burnett turned down a $12.75 million option in Philadelphia to sign a smaller deal with the Pirates. The 38-year-old will be in the middle of the rotation behind Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole.

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