PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates will take advantage of the four-day All-Star Game break to adjust their starting rotation. Teams always do this, so the only intriguing part here is the likelihood of A.J. Burnett actually starting consecutive games. The oddity is possible because in the unprecedented scheduling, all teams will take a four-day break before their return games Friday. Burnett is scheduled to bring down the first-half curtain with his Sunday start against the Giants, thus the second-half opener would be on his normal rest.
While confirming the plans to toss the rotation, manager Clint Hurdle didn't divulge details since the pitchers involved hadn't been yet told. However, it is highly likely that the Bucs will give Burnett the honor of starting off the second half as recognition of his contributions on the mound (9-2, 3.74 ERA) and in the clubhouse, as well as make up for having been an Opening Day scratch. Burnett was pencilled in to start the season opener, but missed out while on the disabled list with the eye orbital-bone fracture he'd suffered in a Spring Training bunting mishap.