Pirates' Burnett plans to pitch this season; says he won't retire
A.J. Burnett plans on pitching this season. But where is still a question.
According to ESPN.com, the 37-year-old right-hander has decided not to retire. At the end of last season, his final under contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Burnett suggested he would either retire or come back to the Pirates.
He went 10-11 last season with a 3.30 ERA for the Pirates, who snapped their 21-year streak of losing seasons and advanced to the National League playoffs. He struck out 209 batters in 191 innings pitched.
Burnett lives in the Baltimore area, and the ESPN.com report says the Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies have expressed interest in Burnett, although how much is unclear.
Previously, ESPN.com reported that Pirates president Frank Coonelly said Pittsburgh had “turned the page” on the likelihood of Burnett’s return. But he also said the Pirates were leaving the door open for the possibility of a reunion.
“We’d love to have A.J. back, but right now we’ve turned the page and we’re heading to Bradenton (Fla.) thinking he’s not going to be with us,” Coonelly told ESPN.com. “But if he surprises us and calls up tomorrow and says he wants to pitch again, we’d love to have him.”
In December, the Pirates declined to extend a $14.1 million qualifying offer to Burnett, which would have entitled them to draft-pick compensation if he signs with another club.