4/15/2014 12:17 A.M. ET
Despite hernia, Burnett plans to keep pitching
By Todd Zolecki and Austin Laymance / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- A.J. Burnett will need surgery at some point, but he said on Monday that he plans to pitch the rest of the season with an inguinal hernia.
Burnett received a cortisone injection on Monday and is scheduled to start on Wednesday.
"It's something that I think is manageable," Burnett said.
But what makes it manageable?
"I guess manageable [means] that I'm going to have to deal with it," he said. "Paying attention to it, knowing it's there, knowing what I can do to overdo it and knowing what I can do to keep it where it needs to be. I'm more of a go-getter, and I'm not really a 'take it easy' kind of guy, so it's going to be a test."
Burnett had to be pulled from Friday's start in the fifth inning because of discomfort, but he said, "I've pitched with worse. The other night was more of an uncertainty because I didn't know where it was coming from. I didn't know if it was hip, groin, whether I tweaked something or pulled something. Now that I know upstairs what I'm dealing with, I can deal with it a lot better."
Left-hander Cole Hamels pitched with the same injury in 2011 and went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 32 appearances (31 starts), finishing fifth in National League Cy Young Award voting. He underwent surgery following that season.
In a perfect world, Burnett will perform similarly to Hamels in 2011 and be able to wait until the offseason to surgically repair the hernia, as recovery can take six to eight weeks. Burnett is confident he still can pitch the way he did the past couple of seasons with the Pirates, when he went 26-21 with a 3.41 ERA in 61 starts.
Burnett is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three starts this season. In 16 innings he has allowed 17 hits, 11 runs (seven earned) and 14 walks, with 10 strikeouts.
"It could be a blessing in disguise and I pay attention more to my delivery," he said. "The two pitches [where] I felt it in my bullpen [session on Sunday] is when my timing was a tick off. I flew open early, or something was off. But when I nailed my delivery in the next 15, it was fine. I'm not worried about it now that today happened. I talked to the doctors and had my questions answered. 'How severe is it? Can it get really, really worse?'"
"It can get larger," he said. "But as far as pain-wise, they said it would be the same. Uncomfortable."
Surgery will come at some point, and he knows that, he just hopes it's not until after the season.
Sandberg sticks with hot hand in Gwynn
PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Ryne Sandberg is sticking with the hot hand in center field and at the top of the lineup, which happens to be Tony Gwynn Jr.
Gwynn made his fourth straight start on Monday in place of Ben Revere. Gwynn has been a catalyst in the leadoff spot over the past three games, scoring three runs and batting .333, in addition to his playing his usual solid defense.
"He's doing a nice job at the top of the order, so I want to stick with the same lineup and try and keep the momentum going," Sandberg said before Monday's series opener against the Braves. "I like what he's doing."
Revere bruised some ribs on an attempted diving catch on Wednesday against Milwaukee, which opened the door for Gwynn to start each game of the three-game sweep of Miami over the weekend.
Sandberg said that Revere was feeling much better on Monday, so Gwynn's presence in the lineup had more to do with his performance than Revere's health.
"I think both guys bring a little different package," Sandberg said. "I think as far as a defender, I think Ben has come a long way. Tony does a nice job out there. I don't have a problem with either one. I like what Tony has done out there on the defensive side of it. He shows experience out there, knowledge of the hitters, gets good jumps."
It's a small sample, but the Phillies are 4-0 this season when Gwynn is in the starting lineup. He started on Opening Day in left field, with Revere in center and leading off.
"He's doing everything Ben does," outfielder Domonic Brown said. "He's getting on, he's doing little things in the outfield, everything he needs to do."
Adams set to be activated off DL on Tuesday
PHILADELPHIA -- Confident that his surgically repaired right shoulder is healed, Phillies reliever Mike Adams is set to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.
The Phillies optioned right-hander Luis Garcia to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following Monday's 9-6 loss to the Braves to make room for Adams on the roster.
The Phils hope Adams is a solution for a bullpen that could use some right-handed help, but he has not pitched in the Major Leagues since last June, so no one can be certain how he will perform once he returns to the mound. Still, Adams feels he can help the team.
"I feel pretty strong with my shoulder," Adams said on Monday. "Now the thought process is, 'Let's make pitches, let's get people out and let's move on to the next day.' ... I'm to the point now where I'm pretty confident in the rehab process and what I've been through."
Adams said he was ready to pitch on Monday, but Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said, "It was a joint decision to give him an extra day."
Sandberg said he plans to use Adams "smartly to start with. Whether it's one inning, I think that would be a good place to start and just go from there and see how he rebounds, see how he looks and see how he pitches and see how he feels the next day. But we need to be smart, one inning at a time to get him started."
Adams said he's "very anxious" to get back on a big league mound. Philadelphia signed him to a two-year, $12 million contract before the 2013 season, but he was limited to 28 appearances last year.
"It's been a long while," Adams said of his rehab process. "I'm not nervous yet, but I'm sure once that time comes and I get back on the mound, it's going to be a little nerve-wracking."
Phillies vindicated on incorrect review call
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies were on the wrong side of a review regarding Major League Baseball's new rule on home-plate collisions during Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Marlins, and the league informed manager Ryne Sandberg after the game that the call should have gone the other way.
In the sixth inning, the Marlins threw out Tony Gwynn Jr. at the plate, but Sandberg asked the umpires to review the play because he felt that catcher Jeff Mathis blocked the plate with his leg before he had the ball. The umpires ruled that no violation was observed, though replays showed Mathis had his leg in front of the plate before he had the ball in his glove.
Joe Torre, executive vice president of baseball operations, followed up with Sandberg after the game.
"What was suggested to me ... well after the game was that they viewed that the catcher never gave Gwynn a lane to home plate," Sandberg said on Monday. "So he took the plate away early when he was all the way to third base. All the way in, Gwynn had no lane to home plate. So they thought that was a problem."
The new rule, 7.13, section 2, reads as follows: "Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the Umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 7.13 if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the Umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable (emphasis added)."
Fortunately for the Phillies, they still won Sunday's game. Sandberg hopes the play could be used going forward to help explain the new rules.
"I think the other side of it is, it's early in the process, and it's early in the system," he said. "Possibly it's a play that is reviewed and shown to learn from it, where in the rule it clearly says that the catchers have to give a lane to the baserunner, and it was taken away the whole time. I think they will learn from that one. It could have went our way. It should have."
Tony Gwynn Jr. singled and reached second on a throwing error with one out in the third inning, when Jimmy Rollins bunted Gwynn to third. It was a curious move at best with Gwynn a good runner and already in scoring position. Rollins gave up a precious out to send Chase Utley to the plate, and then Utley struck out to end the inning.
"[Rollins] thought there were no outs," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He forgot [Roberto] Hernandez led off the inning. He thought there was no outs. He was just trying to get the guy over from second to third."