ARLINGTON, Texas — An injury-plagued and frustration-filled first season with the Angels came to an end Wednesday for reliever Sean Burnett, who was diagnosed with a small tear in his flexor tendon and is out for the year.
Burnett, the former Washington Nationals setup man who signed a two-year, $8-million deal with the Angels last winter, said he probably will undergo surgery, which would sideline him for three to five months but would be a better option than injections or rest and rehabilitation, which haven’t worked this season.
“If they go in, they would tack it down, and I should have no problem being ready for spring training next year,” said Burnett, who will visit James Andrews, a noted Alabama orthopedic surgeon, next week. “I don’t want to go all off-season with that question mark and go into next year not knowing if it’s OK.”
Burnett, who had an 0.93 earned-run average, went on the disabled list in late April, returned in late May but pitched only twice before going back on the DL on May 28. He hasn’t pitched since.
The left-hander built his arm strength up to throwing off a mound last week, but during a bullpen session Monday in which he “tried to gear up for game speed,” Burnett said the elbow “felt a little funny.” An MRI test confirmed the tear but showed no structural damage in the ulnar collateral ligament.
“I got a little emotional after the bullpen,” Burnett said. “I’m frustrated. I come to a new team, I’m trying to fit in and help the team win and I haven’t been able to do much. I’ve done everything I could possibly do to get on the field, and I haven’t been able to get over that last hump.”
The loss of Burnett and projected closer Ryan Madson, who was signed for $3.5 million but has been out all season because he has been unable to return from Tommy John surgery, dealt a significant blow to the bullpen.
“It’s a huge blow,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “When you look at what he can do and what Madson was projected to do, it has really stretched out some roles and diluted some of our bullpen effectiveness.”