PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pirates are bringing back a fan favorite.
The team announced this afternoon that they have agreed to a one-year deal with pitcher A.J. Burnett for the 2015 season.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Warmer Temperatures Expected This Weekend
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports the deal is worth $8.5 million.
Burnett, 37, spent last season with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Burnett says this will be his last season and he wanted to end his career with the Pirates.
“I want to win a ring, and I want to win a ring in Pittsburgh,” Burnett said.
Burnett posted a 26-21 record and a 3.41 ERA while making 61 starts with the Pirates during his two seasons with the club (2012-2013) before pitching with Philadelphia in 2014.
Burnett, who made a National League high 34 starts while pitching 213.2 innings last season, ranks fourth among all Major League pitchers in starts since 2008 (227).
Burnett says he feels healthy after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia, and General Manager Neal Huntington agrees saying that the team feels he is healthy and can do some things to help improve himself.
Burnett joined the Starkey and Mueller show and talked about how this all came about.
“I have a certain time where I’m allowed to speak to other teams, speak to people, and once that time was available I reached out to Neal (Huntington) as soon as I can,” Burnett said. “I’m interested in playing one more year in my career and it’s really a nobrainer for me to play anywhere else.”
Burnett is coming off a year in which he saw a decline in his numbers and dealt with a sports hernia injury that likely played a role in that. He addressed that injury and said he dealt with discomfort for most of his starts.
“One out of every so often starts I felt like I should,” Burnett said. “It would creep up at times, it would be different at times. The way I look at it, I pitched through worse. I still could have done better regarding the hernia or not. I’m ready to ramp back up and get ready for spring training.”READ MORE: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Taking Action Against Bank Overdraft Fees
He also said he had a good conversation with manager Clint Hurdle, and reached out to the Pirates about returning.
“He’s coming back?” Manager Clint Hurdle joked, “I don’t know people here are telling me he’s coming back and we are happy to welcome AJ back.”
Burnett also said being snubbed for Game 5 of the 2013 NLDS is “water under the bridge.”
“I think we agreed to disagree on some things at the end there’s no doubt about that, or we disagreed on some things don’t know how much we agreed on it and those were parts of the conversation moving forward,” Hurdle explained, “He told me all the right reasons why he wanted to be a Pirate again and that’s good enough for me, it’s going to be good enough for our club, it was good enough for Neil and we are looking forward to giving him a uniform.”
He has also won 10 or more games in nine of the last 10 seasons, including 16 in his first season with the Pirates.
In his 16 big league seasons, Burnett has won 155 games in 409 appearances (404 starts).
Hurdle said, “I think it’s a good fit for him. He’s coming back for all the right reasons. I think we are going to be able to get what AJ has left out of himself and get it out on the field and get him to pitch the innings that we can have him pitch very productively.”
Hear more with Clint Hurdle here: