ST. LOUIS — A.J. Burnett threw a side session today, two days after throwing his latest sim game. On Friday, Burnett said that the next steps would be decided after today’s bullpen session. After the session, he met with Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington to discuss the next steps. Huntington didn’t give an answer on when Burnett would return.

“We just have to have some conversations with those that are impacted by it,” Huntington said. “Those will take place over the next day or so.”

When asked if Burnett would pitch another sim game or have a rehab outing, Huntington gave the same answer.

Doing a bit of pure speculation, it seems Burnett’s return is close. He said on Friday that he expects to be throwing soon. Huntington’s comments are usually what you hear when the team is about to activate someone, and have yet to tell the other players on the roster that their roles are changing. In this case, Burnett would be replacing someone in the rotation.

Burnett would be ready to pitch again on five days rest on Wednesday. That is when J.A. Happ is scheduled to pitch, so it will be interesting to see how things are handled. I don’t think Happ is the guy leaving the rotation at this point, but it would be interesting if the Pirates move everyone back a day to give some extra rest, while working Burnett in the mix.

**Travis Ishikawa has been rehabbing in Indianapolis the last two days, and will be eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow. Huntington said that the plan was to see how he feels after today, and make the call.

“We’ll see how he feels at the end of the day today, and make a better read,” Huntington said. “Does he feel ready to come back and take a big pinch hit at-bat, take a big opportunity with the club, or does he want the extra day?”

It sounds like Ishikawa will be activated this week, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens tomorrow in Cincinnati.

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  1. Was Ish really injured? If so…I’d owe a friend a few bucks. This has to be just typical “business speak” because his injury was just too perfect timing wise.
    However it plays out, this GM has done a terrific job of keeping assets out of the hands of others this yr while bringing in more with cash deals, pickups, and waiver wire claims.
    Even the most supportive Bucco fans couldn’t have imagined what we were getting when we hired Neal Huntington. Well done Frank and company on the franchise changing move the Pirates made years ago.

    • I may be wrong but I am pretty sure you need a medical reason to be placed on the DL to prevent teams from just throwing people on it. That said, if a doctor works for your organization, I’m sure they can come up with just about anything.

      • No, you’re right about needing a medical reason…but we’ve seen obvious cases of injuries at the right time over the years…and I’d imagine team doctors don’t lie, persay, but they stretch the truth to the highest level it can go with the 15 day DL trips bc of a bruise…or sore knee…or sore back. When many of those could just need 48 hrs…the players are getting 15 days for it. Gamesmanship…the adult way of saying a “lie.” LOL

        • You are exactly right. The thing is, by this time of year, every MLB player has some aches and pains. Heck, I am in my mid 50’s and I hurt everyday at work. Maybe my work would let me go on the 15 day DL.

    • Let’s not forget the vocal minority and media talking heads who were calling for Neal’s scalp after the consecutive second half collapses four years ago. It got so bad Nutting carried out a top to bottom review…or so he said. We should all be glad Nutting, Jr. stayed the course.

  2. Sucks that it is Happ that is going on Wednesday instead of Locke, as it would be great to get Locke OUT of the rotation ASAP. I would assume that the Pirates will slot AJ into the Wednesday spot and bump everyone else back and giving Locke his last start tomorrow.

    I could also see the Pirates bringing Burnett back on Thursday at home against Milwaukee. Why? Well, Happ has already been skipped previously and likely does not need the rest…slotting Burnett in on Thursday would give him an extra day of rest as well as still give the other starters an extra day off…and would get Burnett back at HOME instead of in Cincy where he had the implosion (due to injury) before going on the DL.

    NOTE: If my calculation is correct, if AJ pitches on Wednesday and pushes everyone back a day that would set up Cole and AJ to both pitch in the home series against the Cards…and would set up Cole to pitch the last game of the year, which I would guess they’d give to Locke or Worley or Liz or someone else and give Cole an extra rest.

    • I wouldn’t put much into the fact that it is Happ’s turn in the rotation. As mentioned, they may just slot AJ in and give everyone an extra day off in the rotation. At this point, based on performance, you would think Locke is on the outside looking in, but the P Pirates certainly like the lefty in there at home, so its anyones guess at this time.

    • Good analysis. Burnett at home in his return start would be electric for the fans, and you know he would feed off it. Like you, I want Locke out of the rotation yesterday.

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