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.
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