Rotation shuffle to give Burnett regular rest
Share with others:
Manager Clint Hurdle shuffled the Pirates' rotation Monday, ensuring that A.J. Burnett will stay on regular rest as the Pirates carry a six-man rotation through a stretch of 20 games in 20 days.
Burnett was scheduled to pitch Friday's game in St. Louis against the Cardinals.
He will now start Thursday's game, the series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers at home.
Burnett pitched on five days rest rather than the usual four after Kevin Correia made a spot start Aug. 8.
"I think the one game pushing him back, giving him the extra day, is sufficient enough, in conversation with him, to get him back on a five-day schedule," Hurdle said.
"Keeping your staff ace in a good place, I think, would be at the top of the list."
As a starter, Burnett has a 3.96 career ERA on four days rest. His ERA increases to 4.12 on five days rest.
The move bumped James McDonald, Thursday's scheduled starter, to Friday. McDonald has an 8.71 ERA in six starts after the All-Star break. Opponents are hitting .321 against him in those starts, and he has allowed 30 earned runs in 31 innings. McDonald will have six days of rest in between starts.
"We'll take advantage of it with another side session with [pitching coach] Ray [Searage]," Hurdle said.
Gustavo Nunez, the Pirates' Rule 5 draft pick, was scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment with the Gulf Coast League Pirates Monday.
The Pirates selected Nunez, an infielder from the Detroit Tigers organization, in the December Rule 5 draft. He had surgery on his right ankle, and eventually the screws in the ankle became an irritant, delaying his recovery. He has been on the 60-day disabled list since February.
Nunez has 20 days to rehab in the minors before the Pirates must activate him. Rule 5 picks must stay on the active roster all season or be put on waivers. If they clear waivers, the drafting team must offer him back to his original organization for $25,000. The teams can also work out a trade that would allow the drafting team to assign him to the minor leagues.
The Pirates could call up Nunez when rosters expand Sept. 1 and keep him on the active roster.
Rule 5 players who spend less than 90 days on the active roster because of time on the DL must remain on the active roster until they get 90 days of service, meaning Nunez would need to stay on the active roster for part of 2013 before the Rule 5 stipulations ceased.
"We'll have to wait and see how this process takes place," Hurdle said.
"We're just happy because he's finally going to get on the field. To draft him in December and have the challenges that he's gone through, hopefully he's in a good place. We feel he is. We'll get him out playing and we'll make our observations and see where he can take this."
Hurdle said Travis Snider, who left Saturday's game due to a tight right hamstring, was feeling better and could play the field as a defensive replacement if need be.
Snider pinch-hit in Sunday's game against the San Diego Padres.
First Published August 14, 2012 12:00 am