Burnett throws batting practice

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett, after having surgery on his fractured right orbital bone on March 2, threw for the first time on Saturday.

"I thought it was a good day for A.J. [Burnett],” manager Clint Hurdle said of Burnett’s 40-pitch batting practice session. “He was able to hold his back side and work downhill on the mound, [he] threw all his pitches. So, it was the next step.”

Burnett said he was ready to throw and was really looking forward to playing. There is no doubt Burnett is comfortable in his new home with the Pirates; most of his teammates clapped when he walked off the field after throwing.

“They were happy to see me out there as much as I was happy to be out there,” Burnett said of the support he received.

“I opened some eyes today,” said Burnett. “Hopefully they’ll see if I was a little more ready than they thought, but we’re going to be smart about it either way. It was a good step in the right direction.”

Anna McDonald contributes to Page 2 and SweetSpot.