ESPN's Jerry Crasnick talked to Frank Coonelly about AJ Burnett today and Coonelly said what I think a lot of us have been suspecting for a while; the Pirates don't expect AJ Burnett to return to them in 2014, though it sounds to me like they honestly have no idea exactly what his plans are. Here's the key quote:
"We'd love to have A.J. back, but right now we've turned the page and we're heading to Bradenton (Fla.) thinking he's not going to be with us,'' Coonelly said. "But if he surprises us and calls up tomorrow and says he wants to pitch again, we'd love to have him.''
This is awfully carefully worded, but what it says to me is that the Pirates haven't been in contact with Burnett for quite some time (which is also something that has been implied before, but that has a different meaning coming from Coonelly, I think). That sort of silence strikes me as pretty fishy, though there are obviously details we don't know in this story.
I think it's time to start learning about Edinson Volquez's curveball.