Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Burnett Starts Rehab, Can Laugh at Injury

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Burnett Starts Rehab, Can Laugh at Injury

Article excerpt

BRADENTON, Fla. -- A.J. Burnett once broke a bone in his foot when he stepped into a gutter while bowling. He once broke a bone in his other foot while running on a treadmill. He tore a ligament in his hand while fielding batting practice. He blistered his throwing hand while ironing a pair of jeans into his team hotel.

"If it's freaky, it's going to happen to me," Burnett said. "I've learned to accept those things right now."

So, when his orbital bone was fractured in a bunting drill last week, he just added it to his long list of strange injuries.

Burnett returned to Bradenton Saturday and was cleared by the team to begin the next step of his rehabilitation. He had surgery March 2 in Pittsburgh and will work to re-condition himself.

"There's not much I could have done -- pull the bat back," he said. "But you can't look at it and question now. I had my day of tears, lying down in a hotel room 'What happened? What just happened?' I'm over all that now. We're in a positive direction."

The white of Burnett's right eye still was bloody, and the socket was bruised and stitched. He said he had vision problems after surgery, but his vision has returned to normal. He played catch Saturday and spent some time on the exercise bike.

"I've got a little catching up to do," he said.

Burnett will stay with the team while he is rehabilitating and said how soon he returns to the active roster depends on how his eye reacts to his increased workload. Though he is disappointed by the setback, he's had a good laugh about it. He said he will not be afraid to return to the batter's box.

"All I can say is power hitters don't bunt," he said.

And, yes, he has seen those doctored photos of him with an eye patch, likening him to the Pirates' logo.

"I think it's great," he said. "If you can't laugh at yourself in certain things, you've got problems. I think the Pirate logo's hilarious. …

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