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AJ hopes to be back by Opening Day 2004

Ramp

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c/o flamarlins.com
MIAMI -- Some encouraging news for injured Marlins pitcher A.J. Burnett.

Signs are pointing to Burnett picking up a ball and throwing a short distance by late August.

Burnett, who is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, made a rare pregame appearance in the Marlins clubhouse. Speaking to reporters for the first time in weeks, the ace of the staff remains upbeat and optimistic about defying the odds and being ready for next Opening Day.

First, he understands his road to recovery from a serious elbow ligament injury will be rigorous. Burnett's surgery was a bit complex because it involved the removal of a bone spur on the tip of the elbow.

An avid weightlifter, Burnett just now is able to do some light lifting for his upper body as well as lower-body workouts.

Burnett was placed on the disabled list April 28, and shortly after had Tommy John surgery performed by orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, in Birmingham, Ala.

Normal recovery from the serious arm injury is 12-18 months.

Last Monday, Burnett had his arm examined by Andrews. His next scheduled visit to Birmingham is August. If all goes well, he would be able to begin throwing a short distance 10-15 feet.

Spending much of his time at his South Florida home, Burnett is sporting a beard and his hair is grown out.

"Rocky didn't shave when he was training for a fight," Burnett joked.

Three days a week he is undergoing therapy in Coral Gables.

"I plan on pitching competitively by Opening Day," Burnett says of making a more rapid recovery than anticipated.

Burnett was doing therapy the past weeks at the same facility as injured Mets catcher Mike Piazza.

He plans to talk to several players who have battled back from Tommy John surgery, including Atlanta closer John Smoltz.

Burnett often watches a few of the Marlins games in the dugout, but leaves in the later innings. A staunch competitor, he says it is tough being around the team and not being able to pitch.

Burnett's status with the Marlins remains unclear for 2004. He is arbitration-eligible, and the organization must decide what to do about a number of players under contract through the end of this season.

Burnett said Saturday he hopes to be back.

"I hope they keep what's going on here in tact," said Burnett, who was 0-2 (4.70) in four starts before tearing his elbow ligament. "You can't break up the chemistry. They did that last year and it killed us."
 

SlapHands69

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When people were saying AJ would be out for 2 years I knew they were wrong because AJ is a fighter :usaflag
 

Mephisto

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2 years is to much, but I doubt he'll be back by Opening day he could be back by May if he keeps working hard.

Is good he's talking to pitchers who came back from Tommy John. Maybe he spoke to Franco.
 

CapeFish

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AJ better not rush back. I'd rather have him in May than not at all. It's nice he is a fighter and wants to get back, but he must take baby steps before he can run.
 

Wild Card

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I see AJ making somewhat of an early comeback. He has a great work ethic and just loves to play the game. The great thing is, he is almost a lock to be back next year, because the teams insurance policy on him covers his salary for this season... He will probably make the same amount next year as he did this year, and will be arbitration eligible for I believe the next 4 years...

I can't wait to see a 101 MPH cut fastball... That has got to be the sickest pitch in baseball...
 

Ramp

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let's hope the arbitration ruling goes 'our' way again...
 

Wild Card

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If it did last time, I think we have a better shot at winning it this season... lol...
 

97Fish

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He's most likely not going to be back by opening day. :mischief2
But it could happen.
AJ reminds me a lot of Alex Fernandez.
 

AJBurnett34

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Yea thats what Im talking about, i knew AJ was a tough Guy. I hope he is back by 2004 Opening day bu i doubt he will. He needs to regain his Full Arm Strength and needs to work on control and everything again...it will take him a few months after the 2004 Opening day....
 

JPierre75sbs

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AJ will be back by opening day. Hes another con man, not a fighter. His greed makes him a fighter. He will pitch through the pain and force himself to be back by opening day.
 

xdannyx25

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AJ will be back by opening day. Hes another con man, not a fighter. His greed makes him a fighter. He will pitch through the pain and force himself to be back by opening day.
i sense alittle carl everett in burnett
 

Mephisto

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AJ will be back by opening day. Hes another con man, not a fighter. His greed makes him a fighter. He will pitch through the pain and force himself to be back by opening day.
Are you crazy if he pitches through pain after Tommy John is carrer is as good as over. He has to play it safe he cant take any risk he has to be 100% healthy when he comes back.
 

xdannyx25

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AJ will be back by opening day. Hes another con man, not a fighter. His greed makes him a fighter. He will pitch through the pain and force himself to be back by opening day.
Are you crazy if he pitches through pain after Tommy John is carrer is as good as over. He has to play it safe he cant take any risk he has to be 100% healthy when he comes back. well see about that, his arm was hurting along time and he still pitched, and if anything he will always be money hungry
 

CapeFish

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AJ will be back by opening day. Hes another con man, not a fighter. His greed makes him a fighter. He will pitch through the pain and force himself to be back by opening day.
I'm not a pitcher, but how can you have pain from Tommy John, i thought it was a reconstrucution of a joint/ligament? :confused
 

Jrod1

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AJ will be back by opening day. Hes another con man, not a fighter. His greed makes him a fighter. He will pitch through the pain and force himself to be back by opening day.
I'm not a pitcher, but how can you have pain from Tommy John, i thought it was a reconstrucution of a joint/ligament? :confused pain because he has to strenghten the ligament in his arm. they're reconstructed but our totally weak. if he tried to throw a baseball now as hard as he wants he will retear it again.

meaning it is going to be painful when he has to start lifting to strengthen the ligament, and it will hrt a little to start pitching again
 

Jrod1

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i hd shoulder surgery, and it hurts to start throwing a baseball again for a while, also you have to sometimes break the scar tissue
 

odom006

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hopefully when we play the cubs he can ask Kerry wood cuz look at Wood dominating this year him and Kevin brown are my early NL Cy young canidates...

he should ask Smoltz... its all good im just glad to hear from him... good thing he is still upbeat...
 

CapeFish

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i thought he could blow it again because of the surgery after he gets it up to strength, is that true?
 

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