A.J. Burnett’s first real-game appearance of the spring on Sunday morning became an ideal 54-pitch outing.
Starting for AA-Altoona against AAA-Indianapolis at Pirate City, Burnett threw 36 strikes while allowing one hit in “four” innings.
A.J. was only scheduled to go three, but got through that so efficiently, in his final inning he stayed on the mound for the rare six-up, six-down inning.
As important, considering Burnett’s main curiosity about his first competitive outing was how he would react to plays, he got to handle one comebacker and to run to cover first on a grounder to the first baseman. He handled both plays perfectly, showing no delays in reacting to his first plays since being waylaid by a fractured eye-orbital bone that required surgery on March 2.
Burnett will next throw a side session on Tuesday, then make a rehab start with Bradenton on April 6, after which his comeback timetable will be re-evaluated.