Elbow troubles have plagued veteran reliever Sean Burnett for much of his career and he now appears likely to miss the remainder of the 2014 season. The left-hander has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
While the injury typically results in Tommy John surgery, it remains unclear if that is the path the 31 year old will take. This would be the second time he’d undergo the procedure.
Burnett’s tenure with the Los Angeles Angels has been nothing short of disappointing. Burnett has thrown just 10.1 innings since signing a two year, $8 Million deal to join the Angels prior to the 2013 season. He was effective a year ago before elbow concerns cut his season short. He didn’t make his return to the Angels’ bullpen until May 23rd of this year but would only make three appearances before heading back to the disabled list.
The Angels hold an option for 2015 that would pay Burnett $4.5 Million, but it appears all but certain they will instead pay him a $500,000 buyout.
An effective reliever during his time with the Washington Nationals, Burnett was a highly sought after commodity when he hit the free agent market following the 2012 season. There was a lot of belief at the time that the Nationals would make a strong effort to bring him back, but there was hesitation within the organization to give a middle reliever such a lucrative contract.
Los Angeles only has one left-hander in their bullpen at the moment in Wade LeBlanc. There are no other southpaw relievers on their 40-man roster. The team recalled right-hander Matt Shoemaker to take Burnett’s place on the active roster.