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A.J. Burnett won’t be breaking his face in any bunting competitions this spring

Feb 12, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

a.j. burnett pirates

Last year around this time A.J. Burnett was taking part in the Pirates’ bunting competition when he fouled a ball off his face and suffered an orbital fracture that required surgery and two months of recovery time.

Burnett missed the first three weeks of the regular season and apparently learned his lesson. When asked today what his plans were for this year’s bunting competition, Burnett said: “No. I’m out. I’ll bunt only if coach throws the ball. No machine pitch.”

Because so many people had gotten used to mocking Burnett for his performance with the Yankees the bunting injury last spring led to all sorts of ridicule, but once healthy he had a very good season for the Pirates with a 3.51 ERA and 180 strikeouts in 202 innings.

  1. redguy12588 - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    I was actually kind of worried about this. Good on the pirates to take precautions.

  2. dcfan4life - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    I dunno, it was a freak accident, and clearly he needs to work on his bunting, which is very important in the National League. Mariano Rivera tore his ACL shagging balls in batting practice, something hes done every game for every season hes been a pro. He said immediately after the injury he will do it again this upcoming season. If somethings hard and you fail trying to do it or a freak accident occurs, well the strong willed individuals never let that stop them now do they?

  3. ezthinking - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Go all little league/Marlon Byrd, and get a face make for your helmet and get in there.

  4. krispc - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Pitchers should use the batting helmets that are used in fast pitch softball. Would basically do away with this type of freak injury.

  5. auminer96 - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Years ago, when I was in sixth grade and playing fast pitch softball, my dad decided I needed to practice bunting in our backyard a few hours before a game. Well, I bunted a ball back into my face and split my lip open so badly that I needed stitches. After leaving the emergency room (and with my lip swollen so much it stuck out past my nose!), my dad made me go to the game anyway even though I couldn’t play…he said that I was part of a team and that meant always showing up, even when it wasn’t convenient. I was not too happy about that, but my teammates were blown away by my “dedication” to the team; I earned a ton of respect from them that day and I learned a valuable lesson. Smart man, my dad.

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