BRADENTON, Fla. -- A.J. Burnett had surgery this morning to repair the broken orbital bone beneath his right eye and could return in eight to 12 weeks, the Pirates announced.
Dr. Randall Beatty performed the surgery at Allegheny General Hospital.
"A.J. will work through the three step return to pitch progression," general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "The initial step will be to heal from the surgery. Secondly we will recondition his arm and body to where he was prior to the injury. Lastly, we will put A.J. through the same progression as he would have gone through here in spring training. The very rough timetable to complete this process and have A.J. prepared to compete without restrictions at the major league level is 8-12 weeks."
The eight to 12-week timetable places a potential return around May or June.
Burnett fouled a ball off his eye socket during a bunting competition Wednesday. Huntington said the initial diagnosis indicated the possibility of a fracture, so the team flew him to Pittsburgh for further evaluation Wednesday evening. He was examined Thursday morning and found to have the fracture.
Bill Brink: email@example.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.