Burnett pitches — and catches

Pirates brass won’t let on, lest they come off as unreasonably eager, but everyone is delighted that A.J. Burnett is already throwing bullpens. They didn’t think they’d see him back on a mound, even for a side session, only 15 days after his eye-orbital surgery. …

A.J. was practicing his fishing technique in the clubhouse the other day, casting his rod across the room into teammates’ lockers. Caught a Reebok and a Converse, far as I could tell. …

GM Neal Huntington, as Starling Marte was giving teammates so-long handshakes on his way to Pirate City: “I don’t want to come across as negative, but 25 at-bats doesn’t mean he’s ready for the Major Leagues, as good as those 25 at-bats were. Spring Training is Spring Training. We need to make decisions with our heads.” …

Huntington called Gorkys Hernandez, also ticketed for Indianapolis, “our best defensive outfielder.” The bat still hasn’t caught up. …

The Pirates spent part of the morning practicing their win-celebration leaps. At least, that’s how it looked as players whopped it up after particularly good plays during game-situation drills. Pedro Alvarez’s leap in fine form. Clint Barmes needs more work. …

Players in the clubhouse — obviously caught up in the iPad4 frenzy — mercilessly rode one teammate when he pulled out an original iPad. “And there’s the iPad One,” Alvarez called out. “Does that thing work as a VCR?” “Dude, you don’t even have a camera on that?” Daniel McCutchen asked the victim, who shall remain nameless to protect the tech-challenged. …

Last spring, Aroldis Chapman was tooling around Phoenix in his Ferrari with the “102 MPH” vanity plates. Does he now have to get new plates that say “92-95MPH”? …

Burnett was “not really” surprised that former Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte decided to become an En-Core member. “I know he loves the game. And the way he finished up (in 2010), I think he’s got a little left in the tank,” Burnett said. … 


tom, n. huntington says marte was sent down as a precaution to starting his major league clock if he gets hurt past today. could you expand on this rule?

Since Marte is on the 40man roster, if he gets hurt in major league camp, he cannot be optioned to the majors, he would accrue MLB Service Time until he is healthy enough to be activated from the DL and then optioned to the minors. That is my understanding atleast.

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