A.J. Burnett has been a pleasant surprise for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, but the right-hander was placed on the disabled list by the team with a strained calf prior to yesterday’s game. Charlie Morton has been activated from the DL to take his place on the active roster.
Burnett has made a league leading 14 starts on the season, going 4-6 with a 3.12 ERA over 89.1 IP. His current ERA, WHIP (1.131), and K/9 (10.0) are all career bests at this point in the year. Most importantly the veteran has been consistent for a Pirates team trying to remain in the hunt in the suddenly ultra-competitive NL Central. The Pirates have already coped with multiple injured and underperforming pitchers on the year, lending further value to what Burnett’s been able to offer. The 36 year old will be a free agent at season’s end.
Replacing Burnett on the roster is Morton, who’s been on the shelf for the past year due to Tommy John Surgery. He’d gone 2-6 with a 4.65 ERA in seven starts last season before undergoing surgery. Morton started yesterday for the Pirates, taking the loss despite allowing just two earned runs over five innings of work. Jeff Locke will start in Burnett’s place later today.