The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed veteran right-handed pitcher A.J. Burnett on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 9. Along with placing Burnett on the DL, the Pirates released reliever Jose Contreras and activated Charlie Morton. Morton will start for the Pirates tonight against the San Francisco Giants.
Burnett told the team about pain in his calf on Wednesday, and it turns out he has a right calf strain. Contreras was released to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Morton; and Burnett being placed on the DL opens a spot on the 25-man roster for Morton.
Burnett is having a stellar season with the Pirates. In 14 starts in 2013, his ERA is 3.12 and he has 99 strikeouts in 89.1 innings pitched. His strikeout numbers have been decreasing recently, but his 10.0 K/9 is still excellent.
Contreras had been on the DL with lower back inflammation. The 41-year-old right-handed hurler had only thrown five innings with the Pirates, collecting a 9.00 ERA. He had allowed seven hits and six walks in only five innings, resulting in a putrid 2.600 WHIP. Good riddance.
Morton will be making his 2013 debut with the Pirates, returning from Tommy John Surgery. He will look to improve on his bad 2012 season, and he should. Last season, he wasn’t able to throw his best two pitches, his curveball and sinker, because it was painful to throw those particular pitches. This season, he should be able to return to his 2011 season success due to his ability to throw the sinker again and hopefully get tons of ground balls.