Burnett deflects pitch into right cheek in bunting competition

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Starter A.J. Burnett was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh Wednesday night after fouling a ball off his face in a bunting competition Wednesday morning, the team announced.

He will have further tests on his right eye.

Burnett redirected the pitch, which came at medium speed from a pitching machine, toward his right cheek and eye socket and under the brim of his helmet. The impact made an audible sound as the ball struck his face and drew blood. A trainer stemmed the bleeding with a towel, and Burnett left the field.

The Pirates acquired the right-handed Burnett, 35, from the New York Yankees at the start of spring training for two minor leaguers.

The Pirates pitchers are participating in a bracket-style bunting tournament.

Morton's BP successful

Charlie Morton pitched two innings of batting practice for the first time Wednesday and said he felt good.

"I just consider it part of the process," Morton said. "It wasn't a huge deal. I basically expected to get out there and do what I did."

Morton, who had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, threw 35 pitches. He will throw 40 pitches Saturday. He said the batters he faced told him his pitches looked good.

"They said it's there, the sinker's there," he said. "The sinker was around the plate."

Cabrera day to day

Right-hander Daniel Cabrera was scratched from a scheduled appearance in an intrasquad game Friday due to tightness in his right forearm.

The Pirates signed Cabrera as a minor league free agent in the offseason. Cabrera did not pitch in 2011 because of Tommy John surgery.

Pitchers announced

The Pirates announced the pitchers for the intrasquad game Friday. Jeff Karstens, Jeff Locke, Rudy Owens, Jared Hughes, Bryan Morris and Mike Crotta will pitch for the Black team, and Kevin Correia, Jo-Jo Reyes, Kyle McPherson, Gerrit Cole, Daniel Moskos, Duke Welker and Tim Wood will pitch for the Gold team.

Buried treasure

Pirates senior director of Florida operations Trevor Gooby delivered a baby boy during a season ticket-holder function at McKechnie Field Tuesday night.


Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.


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