OAKLAND -- John Gibbons did his best to play the role of optimist, but the news regarding A.J. Burnett's shoulder injury was worse than Toronto's manager led on. Gibbons tried to make light of the pitcher's latest trip to the disabled list, but the doctor's report read differently.
"He's on the DL," said Gibbons, sitting in the visitor's dugout at McAfee Coliseum prior to Monday's game against Oakland. "So, he'll be missing for at least 15 days."
The truth of the matter is that Burnett will be out of Toronto's rotation for at least three or four weeks. On Sunday, the right-hander flew to Birmingham, Ala., where Dr. James Andrews examined Burnett's ailing shoulder. Burnett received a cortisone shot for what Gibbons said was "a strain with some impingement."
The Blue Jays have decided to shut Burnett down for the next seven days before having him begin a throwing program. Then, after he builds up the strength in his arm again, the 30-year-old Burnett will need to make at least one or two Minor League rehabilitation starts before rejoining Toronto's rotation.
"We'll see how he responds," Gibbons said.
Gibbons added that Andrews "didn't find anything significant," and Burnett didn't need to undergo an MRI while meeting with the doctor. More than anything, Toronto's manager said the time off was merely a precaution for Burnett, who first had the shoulder issue flare up during his June 12 start against the Giants.
During that outing, Burnett left the game in the fifth inning after feeling pain in his throwing shoulder. Toronto placed him on the DL the next day, but he was activated for a start against the Twins on Saturday. In Minnesota, Burnett experienced a noticeable drop-off in velocity, which was a sign that his shoulder hadn't completely recovered.
He was placed on the 15-day DL again on Sunday, marking the 10th time in nine seasons that he's landed on the list. Burnett, who signed a five-year deal worth $55 million with Toronto two winters ago, is 5-6 with a 4.31 ERA this season.
"I'm the man with the ball. I'm the man who can throw it faster than F***. So that's why I'm better than anyone in the world." - Kenny Powers