Difficult and frustrating are two words that can properly describe Sean Burnett‘s journey back to the majors and it just took another turn for the worse on Tuesday as he reinjured his left elbow that will result in a trip to the disabled list.
Burnett suffered the injury in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 6-4 win over the Seattle Mariners, which was just his third appearance since being activated this past weekend. He was starting to look as if he was getting back on track, but it is once again an injury to the same elbow that became so bothersome last year that it forced him to shut it down after 13 appearances and eventually required season-ending surgery last August to clean it up. It is also the same elbow that he has fought through several setbacks in his rehab this offseason and early part of the 2014 season to get back to the majors.
With his recent injury history in mind and his elbow flaring up once again, it poses the question of whether he will be able to pitch again without any setbacks occurring. Burnett has proven in the past that he can successfully get past injuries and surgery as he did from 2004 Tommy John surgery and 2005 shoulder surgery. However, this time may be different for the 31-year-old as his body is not allowing him to go out and pitch on a daily basis without his elbow bothering him even after the fact that he had surgery last season to correct that problem.
This is not suggesting that Burnett should retire or anything remotely close to that, but rather that he ease up off the gas in rehab this time around as his body is not responding the way it had prior to the initial elbow injury last season. It is something that will take time to get past and from his initial reaction to the injury Tuesday night, this may take another year to truly get through as there is potential that it may once again end his season.
At the end of the day, injuries are a part of the game of baseball and professional sports. This means that majority of the time they cannot be prevented as in case and point with Burnett. There is no doubt that he is going to try to work his way back from square one from yet another setback, but there is also the chance that this may be the last time that we could see him in a Los Angeles Angels uniform.