PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander A.J. Burnett was scheduled to make his final rehab start at Double-A Altoona on Saturday, but he started for the Pirates because right-hander Kevin Correia was experiencing discomfort in his left side.
"We're not sure how Correia got hurt," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He complained of some stiffness and soreness, and with his injury history last year with his oblique, we wanted to get it checked out. We had an MRI done today, which came back clean, and we had him go out and get active and play long toss. And he threw inside today and he's functional and good to go.
"That being said, where we stood yesterday and through last night, you don't know if he can go out there and pitch in the game and give you an inning. We feel much more confident now. Correia threw, and he'll have tomorrow off, and if he feels good, we'll have the option of throwing him or Brad Lincoln on Monday."
Burnett began the season on the 15-day disabled list rehabbing from surgery on his right orbital bone, which he fractured during a bunting drill at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla., on Feb. 29. He had surgery on March 2 in Pittsburgh and returned to Bradenton on March 9 to start his rehab program after spending a week at home in Maryland. Burnett made a total of three rehab starts, with the last one coming with Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday night.
"I think Burnett is more geared up to pitch here tonight than he would have been in Altoona," Hurdle stated. "He was going to do what he felt might be best for him to do, and I think there's a part of him that felt the best thing for him to do was pitch in the big leagues and that's the way it worked out."
Correia felt it was best to be careful with his discomfort.
"It felt real similar to what I did last year," Correia explained. "The MRI was clean, and that's basically all I wanted to know. I just didn't want to go out there and aggravate it ... and with it being a good MRI, I feel confident going out there and throwing now."