Angels reliever Sean Burnett underwent the second reconstructive elbow ligament surgery of his career this week, a procedure that will sideline the veteran left-hander for 12 to 18 months and will most likely end his career in Anaheim.
Burnett, 31, is in the second season of a two-year, $8-million contract that includes a $4.5-million option for 2015 that the team will buy out for $500,000, making Burnett a free agent.
Burnett appeared in only 16 games for the Angels, spending most of his two seasons rehabilitating from elbow injuries and surgery to repair his flexor tendon last August, but Manager Mike Scioscia believes Burnett will pitch again.
“It seems like it has become a routine operation when you hear 'Tommy John surgery,' and the results have been great, but on the second one, there’s a little more gray area on how he’ll react,” Scioscia said. “I know he wants to pitch again, and sometime, a year from now, he’ll get an opportunity to do what he loves to do and something he’s very good at.”
Burnett, who had his first Tommy John reconstructive surgery in 2004 and had shoulder surgery in 2005, suffered a spring-training setback that caused him to miss April and most of May. He finally returned on May 23 and appeared in three games, only to tear the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow on May 27 in Seattle.
In other injury news, reserve third baseman Ian Stewart, on the disabled list since May 12 because of a bruised left hand, received two cortisone injections in the hand on Friday.
Stewart is still feeling pain in the hand, has been unable to swing a bat for several days, and there is no timetable for his return.
Mike Trout, who missed three games and was relegated to designated hitter for one game this last week because of middle-back stiffness, was playing center field for Friday night’s series opener against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium.
“He’s healthy,” Scioscia said. “He came in today and said he feels great and wants to get back into center field. The training staff put him through the paces early, and feel he’s 100%.”