A.J. Burnett has not pitched a game in almost a month after injuring his calf. Instead of going the conventional route with a rehab assignment in the minors, it sounds like Burnett will return Sunday against the Chicago Cubs.
Burnett apparently showed enough in simulated games to convince the training staff he was good to go without a rehab assignment. Michael Sanserino of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had the story on Twitter:
Burnett will probably be on a restricted pitch count against the Cubs, but that is not necessarily a bad thing against a team like Chicago anyway.
The Pirates could have went with Jeanmar Gomez Sunday, but appear content throwing Burnett back into the fire at full force. We are sure he will do just fine as long as he stays healthy, which at this point is the exact question everyone needs to have answered.
Watch Burnett and how the coaching staff handles him Sunday closely. It will give us a better idea as to how the rest of the year after the break could play out.
Follow me on Twitter for more NFL, NBA and MLB news and analysis @Chris_Roling