Ex-Yankees Starter A.J. Burnett Out 8-12 Weeks After Orbital Fracture Surgery

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett underwent surgery Friday to repair a fractured right orbital bone.

The right-hander was injured Wednesday at the team’s spring training facilities in Bradenton, Fla., while trying to bunt. The failed attempt caromed off his bat and into his face.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Burnett is expected to miss to 12 weeks. The procedure was performed at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

“A.J. will work through the three-step return to pitch progression,” Huntington said. “The initial step will be to heal from the surgery. Secondly, we will recondition his arm and body to where he was prior to the injury. Lastly, we will put A.J. through the same progression as he would have gone through here in spring training.”

The 35-year-old was acquired in a three-player trade with New York last month and was expected to join the rotation on a team looking to improve on a 72-90 record last season.

“We’ve gotta keep our heads up,” Pirates catcher Rod Barajas said. “It would be easy to get down about this, but we can’t allow us to do that.”

Burnett, a two-time World Series winner, is also trying to rehabilitate his career. He struggled during his final two seasons in New York, posting a 21-26 record with a 5.20 ERA. He led the major leagues with 25 wild pitches in 2011 while allowing a career-high 31 homers.

Do you think Burnett will be able to turn his career around once he heals? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Randy

    Hard to feel sorry for AJ after he nixed the Angel trade. Heck if he would have agreed to the trade he wouldn’t have had to practice his bunting until the WS if they made it. The trade was supposed to be for Bobby Abreu and it would have been sweet to have Abreu’s left handed bat hitting DH or pinch hitting. The Yanks would have had an excellent DH and AJ the head case would still have his face. Maybe he can get a job as a pirate in somebody”s carnival.

  • FreeAgentSignee

    Good luck to AJ Burnett! What a kind, veteran presence to have in that clubhouse.

  • Bill

    NL rules are sure tough on pitchers. Remember Chien Ming Wang…

  • Mike Myers

    I’ll miss his spirit and pies.

  • Tommy C

    Good Luck AJ …….You have to look the ball to the bat.

  • Babe Ruth III

    AJ turned out to be a Jonah for the Yankees the last few seasons. Hopefully this won’t continue in Pittsburgh after the latest mishap. Best of luck.
    As my grandfather said: It’s tough when you love the game , but the game doesn’t love you back.”

  • Nash Rambler

    A J is a good guy who just couldn’t handle the pressure…He’ll be back by opening day…Best wishes to AJ…

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