An eventful year for A.J. Burnett may have just screeched to a grinding halt. The 38-year-old Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star may have very well thrown his final pitch in Major League Baseball. A.J. will have his right elbow examined on Monday. Burnett told MLB.com he thinks it is one of two things.
“It’s either [the ulnar ligament] or the flexor [tendon]. I’m prepared for both. Either way, I’m not going to be bothered by the result.”
Burnett says that he won’t have surgery either way and will try to get some rest and return to help the Pirates down the stretch and hopefully in the playoffs. A.J. told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he wants to make one more run at another ring.
“It’s just a matter of doing enough treatment and doing it where it’s tolerable again and building up some pain tolerance so I can stay on the mound in the stretch run. I’d probably get it fixed when I’m retired but no point in doing it right now. I’m here to pitch and I’m going to do whatever I can to get back on that mound in two weeks. I’m not going to come back and take the mound if I can’t throw. If I can’t throw 90, or if I’m throwing how I was throwing the other night early, I can’t do that to these guys and this team. I plan on getting back to where I was so I can help us out down the stretch.”
Burnett has struggled during his last four starts and watched his earned run average balloon from 1.99 to 3.06. The year started off kind of quiet for Burnett; he didn’t pick up his first win until May 7, but then won six games in a row and put up good enough number to make his first All-Star team in his 17-year career. A.J. didn’t get to pitch in the game, but he enjoyed the experience. Now, as reported on earlier by the Inquisitr, the Pirates are in a dogfight for one of the two wild-card spots in the National League.
Now it may all come to an end for A.J. Burnett. If he has indeed taken the mound for the last time, he will end his career with a record of 163-155 and 3.99 ERA. He sits 33rd on the career strikeout list with 2,484 whiffs. Burnett helped the New York Yankees win the 2009 World Series, getting the win in Game 2 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
[Image by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]