Burnett shut down, won't throw for a month

Burnett shut down, won't throw for a month

BALTIMORE -- The good news from Sean Burnett's Monday visit with Dr. James Andrews is that he won't require surgery -- not yet, anyway.

The bad news is his left elbow, which has landed him on the disabled list twice and limited him to 13 appearances in the first 10 weeks, will be shut down. Burnett was ordered to stay away from throwing for a month. If he feels good after that, he can activate his arm again, and if that goes well, he can start throwing off a mound a couple weeks later.

In short: Burnett won't be back anytime soon.

The 30-year-old left-hander, signed to a two-year, $8 million deal in December, was "devastated" to find out.

"The way I try to go about my business is to be available every day and do the best I can," Burnett said. "Right now, I can't do anything. Coming into a new team, it's disappointing. I feel like a huge disappointment, to tell you the truth."

On Monday, Burnett traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to visit Andrews, the noted orthopedic surgeon who performed his Tommy John surgery in 2004 and removed two bone spurs from his left elbow this offseason. He was given a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) shot and told to be patient.

Burnett missed 22 games while on the DL from April 28 to May 21 with what the team called left forearm irritation.

During that time, on May 4, he visited with Andrews, who confirmed the diagnosis, but told Burnett there was no structural damage and gave him an anti-inflammatory. A week after returning, he landed on the DL once again, this time with a left elbow impingement he said was unrelated to the previous ailment. He was expected to be activated this past Monday -- the first day he was eligible -- but has been relegated to throwing only off flat ground.

"I went down there [on May 4] to try to get back as soon as possible, and get back and try to help the team win, and it didn't work out," Burnett said. "So, instead of trying it my way, we're going to try it the doctor's way this time and hopefully this is a better outcome. Still a bit of a question mark, but it's looking very positive."

Burnett was among baseball's more durable relievers over the previous five years, appearing in an average of 68 games per season while posting a 3.22 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. The 30-year-old left-hander said he's still "up in the air" about what exactly his injury is.

Asked if he's worried he'll need a second Tommy John surgery, Burnett said: "It's popped in my head over the last couple of weeks, yeah. That's the biggest scare. But I did take the doctor's word. He was very positive on it. And he's a guy I deal with all the time."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.