The Pittsburgh Pirates received some great news today. Pirates’ ace A.J. Burnett will return from the 15-day disabled list and make his first start on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. Nothing is official yet as to who will be optioned in order to make room for Burnett on the roster, but I would assume it will be relief pitcher Ryan Reid.
Burnett, 36, has started 14 games for the Pirates this season, going 4-6 with a 3.12 ERA. In 89.1 innings, Burnett has 99 strikeouts and 35 walks. His 10.0 K/9 is one of the best in the National League, making his somewhat high 3.5 BB/9 a bit more acceptable.
Being just 4-6 on the season doesn’t do Burnett justice, as he has been one of the best pitchers on a Pirates’ pitching staff that has dominated MLB. I see Burnett’s case as just another reason to eliminate the win-loss as a statistic for pitchers, but that’s neither here nor there.
Reid, the pitcher likely to be optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, is a 28-year old right-handed hurler that made his MLB debut this season. In 11 innings pitched, Reid has a 1.64 ERA. He has a very low 5.7 K/9, so he obviously isn’t striking a lot of guys out.
The fact that Reid with his 1.64 ERA will likely be optioned just shows the amount of depth the Pirates have in their starting rotation and bullpen. While the Pirates probably didn’t need Burnett back so soon because of how well everyone else has pitched, it will be a nice boost for a team that is in the midst of a battle for the NL Central division crown.