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A.J. Burnett throws 40 pitches of live batting practice

Mar 25, 2012, 11:21 AM EDT

burnett morton ap AP

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett threw a 40-pitch live batting practice session Saturday in camp, then “raised his arms in celebration” while walking off the field because he felt so good.

Burnett suffered an orbital bone fracture earlier this month while performing bunting drills. He underwent surgery, and was originally projected to miss 8-12 weeks of action. But there’s a chance the 35-year-old will beat that timetable altogether.

Saturday’s live BP session marked Burnett’s third time throwing off a mound since the injury.

“A big step,” Burnett told the Tribune-Review shortly after Saturday’s workout. “I wanted to open some eyes today, so, hopefully, they’ll see that I’m a little bit more ready than they thought. It was a good step in the right direction.”

Burnett was acquired from the Yankees in February for a couple of minor leaguers and cash considerations. He registered a 5.15 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 173/83 K/BB ratio in 190 1/3 innings last year for New York.

  1. Stacey - Mar 25, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Small correction: He turned 35 in January.

    • Drew Silva - Mar 25, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      Thanks.

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 25, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    So IANAD, but what would keep him out for 8-12 weeks? Is it just the pushback on training so he wouldn’t be ready?

  3. cur68 - Mar 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    *Disclaimer*: hazy recollection from 15 years ago and conversations over coffee with a trauma doc when we both worked emerge.

    If I recall there are 3 types of fractures that can occur to the bones around the eye (the orbital bones).
    They are: An indirect fracture to the hollow that holds the eye (I think its called a “blowout”). Its when rim of the eye remains intact, but the very thin floor of the eye hollow cracks or bursts open. You can get a small hole in the bottom of the eye socket. This hole can trap parts eye muscles, so the eye won’t move around. You’d see this in car accidents a lot. Also, Louis Salazar comes to mind from last spring. A baseball to the eye = an impact to the bony socket. Anything bigger than the eye opening, like a fist, a dashboard, a handlebar, or, memorably, the rim of a toilet tank while falling down drunk (the stuff people come into emerge with!) will cause a blowout fracture. You can easily lose an eye.

    Then there’s orbital rim fractures. I do believe there is more than one type of this kind but I can only recall 2: A zygomatic break, which is the cheekbone, & frontal bone break (sinus bones at the upper edge of the eye rim: part of the forehead). No less severe than above, these are caused by a direct impact to the bones, like in a dashboard or steering wheel. Takes a lot of force to injure these relatively strong bones so you often get extensive injuries to other bones (and brain: I don’t recommend this one). More bad news; even if its limited to the orbit, you can get injuries to the eye’s main nerve (the optic nerve), muscles, as well as the cranial nerve that serves forehead, cheek, and corner of the mouth (I think it’s cranial nerve 7: Sylvester Stallone has damage to this nerve from a forceps birth. That’s why his expressions are lopsided), & damage to the sinuses and tear ducts.

    And, finally, there’s the combo: direct orbital floor break with associated orbital bone breaks. So, logically, if an orbital rim fracture extends into the eye socket (which has very thin bones at the base), both the rim and the socket base are broken.

    AJ probably broke his zygomatic (cheek bone) with a possible eye socket floor crack. The ball was traveling upwards off of a very elastic collision with his bat. This as opposed to Miggy’s injury: much more direct to the cheek, but probably equally as forceful.

    AJ probably had impaired vision for a while, and likely still has some trouble. It’ll probably be like that till the swelling goes down. Considering how bad the damage was to Louis Salazar’s eye, AJ’s relatively lucky.

    • cur68 - Mar 25, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      This was meant as a reply to churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged’s question above…edit function, please?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 25, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Ah gotcha, I figured it was something like blurred vision for an extended period, but I doubt they’d want a pitcher throwing who can’t see straight. As always, thanks for the info.

  4. buffalomafia - Mar 25, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I think AJ will do fine this year! A good late round pic for Fantast BB

  5. stairwayto7 - Mar 25, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Burnett goes 15-10 this year!

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