BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Pitcher A.J. Burnett #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 26, 2012 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
A stray bunt could cause Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett to miss a chunk of time.
It's not like the Yankees were handing out a free A.J. Burnett, but they were eating enough of his contract to make him an interesting bargain. The Pirates, wary of shoving a prospect into a full-time gig before he was ready, were the team to take the risk.
It already hasn't worked out as planned. From the Pirates' official Twitter feed:
A.J. Burnett has been diagnosed with an orbital fracture of his right eye...He will undergo surgery tomorrow in Pittsburgh.
Burnett fouled a bunt off, and it hit him in the face. The natural instinct was to giggle a little bit at that news, mostly because of the principles involved. Pirates. Burnett. Tee-hee.
But it wasn't funny, and it wasn't something he could shake off. The right-hander will need surgery and presumably miss a chunk of time, putting the start of the season in jeopardy. Instead of solidifying the top of the Pirates' rotation, there will be a scrum for the opening in the rotation among pitchers like Brad Lincoln and, gulp, Daniel Cabrera.
What does it feel like to follow the Pirates? Take it away, Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke:
Seriously, being a Pirate fan is the worst.— Pat Lackey (@whygavs) March 1, 2012