A.J. Burnett Placed on 15-Day DL, Contreras Released, Morton Activated

Jose Contreras appeared in seven games for the Pirates.

Jose Contreras appeared in seven games for the Pirates.

The Pirates have released Jose Contreras, placed A.J. Burnett on the 15-day disabled list and activated Charlie Morton, all moves on right-handed pitchers to allow Morton to start Thursday night.

Burnett has a right calf strain that he told the team about Wednesday and is on the DL retroactive to June 9. Contreras has been on the disabled list since May 28 with lower back inflammation. His release opens up a 40-man roster spot for Morton, while Burnett’s injury opens a spot for Morton to join the 25-man roster.

Earlier Thursday, the team announced A.J. Burnett would miss his Friday start with a calf injury. Jeff Locke will start Friday night’s game at home against the Dodgers, and Gerrit Cole is scheduled to start Sunday. Saturday’s starter has yet to be announced, but Tim Williams explored the possibilities.

The Pirates now have five of their main starting pitchers from the 2012 season on the disabled list: Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald and Jeff Karstens. The team provided updates on some of those pitchers plus others earlier today. Rodriguez is eligible to return from the disabled list as early as June 21 (when the Pirates are in Anaheim), and Burnett could return as early as June 25 in Seattle. The Pirates’ rotation currently stands as Morton, Locke, Cole and Liriano.

Burnett was seen walking without crutches and without any visible protective gear Thursday.

Contreras, 41, pitched only five innings for the Pirates this season, allowing five earned runs, striking out five and giving up six walks. The Pirates were just his second organization since 2009. He was granted an unconditional release.

James Santelli

Author: James Santelli

James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person. Google

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  • kidic56

    Thanks for @Pirates on twitter to let me know Marte is scratched tonight to discomfort in his side, and ” all shook up ” is taking his place. Now i can bench Marte in my fantasy league.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    I think it is encouraging that the Pirates management team is quickly admitting to mistakes and cutting ties quickly – instead of stubbornly holding on to players. It is encouraging that they cut John McDonald, Sanchez, and Contreras fairly quickly once it was obvious that they were all poor signings.

    Now, if they will do the same with James McDonald and Inge.

    As for Morton tonight, not surprisingly another extremely inconsistent and frustrating performance. He has quality “stuff”, but IMHO he lacks mental toughness – much like Kip Wells was. I hope they don’t keep trotting him out there very 4-5 days if this is the type of performance we are going to get from him – which is what I would expect given his past performance.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

      I feel the same way about Morton, but it looks like we’re gonna need him until Wandy and AJ get back.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    I think it is time to pull the plug on Zagurski as well…he may be the proverbial AAAA player – not MLN caliber. Although he’s not a lefthander, Duke Welker would be an upgrade. Is Vic Black still on the DL??

    • smurph

      I agree, Zagurski should be gone. Last night was a defining moment for him and he blew it. You could recall Oliver to take his place. And yes, I would rather have Harrison or d’Arnaud or Presley on the team than Inge.

  • https://profiles.google.com/116899082423235635777 Monsoon Harvard

    Yes, Brandon Inge has to go. I see no need for him at this time and he just doesn’t hit.
    As for McDonald, they should have moved him when he was pitching well. Now if he still has any value I would try to trade him as soon as possible.

    Also, Surprised they are not attemping to get Eric Young Jr. They’ve had their eyes on him for years. I’d rather have him than Inge at least.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fred.langford.9 Fred Langford

    Attrition, n, adj

    : the act of weakening or exhausting by constant harassment, abuse, or attack

    : a reduction in numbers usually as a result of resignation, retirement, or death

    Also: See Pirates pitching staff