AJ Burnett Black Eye

March 3, 2012 by staff 

AJ Burnett Black Eye, Starter A.J. Burnett will miss two to three months while recovering from surgery to repair a broken orbital bone beneath his right eye, the Pirates announced Friday.

Dr. Randall Beatty performed the surgery Friday at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Burnett must first recover from the surgery, general manager Neal Huntington said. Once he does, the Pirates will work him into shape before putting him through a full-length simulated spring training.

“Everything went well with the surgery in terms of what we expected, what we saw, what we found,” Huntington said. “We’re looking forward to getting him going, getting the swelling out of there. He’s got a pretty good shiner right now, but he’s in good spirits and ready to go.”

The two- to three-month timetable indicates a potential return in May or June.

“They’ll take as long as they take,” Huntington said of the steps to recovery. “He wants to get back out there. He’s hungry, he’s angry, he’s disappointed, he’s frustrated and he’s ready to go.”

Burnett fouled a ball off his eye socket in a bunting competition Wednesday. Huntington said the initial diagnosis indicated the possibility of a fracture, so the team flew him to Pittsburgh Wednesday for further evaluation. He was examined Thursday and found to have the fracture.

“The thing that most concerned us was the fracture,” Huntington said. “That’s been repaired. There’s a time frame for him just to recover from the surgery. Then we’ve got to recondition, then we’ve got to get him through a normal spring training.”

The amount of rest before conditioning begins depends on the speed of the healing process, Huntington said.

“It’s depending upon the incision healing, how that goes, and the swelling, how that dissipates,” Huntington said. “And then just how his body recovers from surgery and the trauma of the surgery.”

The Pirates rotation will look similar to its offseason projection now that its opening-day starter is out. Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, Kevin Correia and James McDonald likely will form the starting rotation until Burnett returns.

“One thing we were cognizant of, as Neal and I have gotten together, is depth is critical,” manager Clint Hurdle said.

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