Burnett suffers his most frustrating setback yet …
Angels reliever Sean Burnett, three outings into his return from a nine-month rehabilitation, was removed from Tuesday’s game because of discomfort in his surgically repaired left elbow and will be evaluated in Southern California on Wednesday.
Burnett will likely land on the disabled list, and the Angels will cross their fingers that the injury isn’t serious.
“Lot of frustration right now,” Burnett said when approached by a scrum of reporters at the visiting clubhouse at Safeco Field. “I’m trying to stay positive.”
Shortly after that, the 31-year-old lefty reliever’s eyes welled up and he had to walk away from the interview, the emotions of yet another setback still too raw for Burnett, who was limited to 13 appearances in 2013 and underwent elbow surgery in August – a procedure that saw Dr. James Andrews reopen the scar from his Tommy John surgery in 2004 and clean up residual scar tissue.
“He’s worked his [butt] off to get back to this point,” Angels ace Jered Weaver said. “He’s a great guy, man. He wants to go out there and he wants to help his team win. I know he’s very frustrated. Tough time for him right now. Hopefully when they get results back of whatever they’re going to do tomorrow, hopefully it’s not as serious as something torn or something like that. It’s tough, man.”
Prior to the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said left-hander Wade LeBlanc would start on Thursday. But if Burnett goes on the DL, the Angels can recall Matt Shoemaker to make that start. Shoemaker posted a 2.81 ERA in three starts in place of Hector Santiago, but was sent down because the Angels needed length from the bullpen after their relievers accounted for eight innings in Saturday’s 13-inning game.
Burnett entered the seventh inning of a two-run lead to face left-handed-hitters Michael Saunders and Robinson Cano. He got Saunders to pop out to shortstop, then motioned to the dugout, prompting Scioscia to walk out to the mound with trainer Rick Smith and remove Burnett after a brief conversation.
With the Nationals from 2010-12, Burnett posted a 2.76 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP while compiling 212 appearances.
But ever since signing a two-year, $8 million contract with the Angels the ensuing offseason, he’s battled issues with his left elbow.
“Naturally you’re concerned,” Scioscia said of Burnett. “We really don’t have an idea of what it is now. We’ll get direction from our medical department, he’ll get evaluated tomorrow by our doctors down in California and we’ll take it one step at a time. We’ll wait and see what’s going on.”