Notes: Burnett placed on 15-day DL
Right-hander will visit noted orthopedist Andrews
SEATTLE -- When Dr. James Andrews' name is brought up, it usually means bad news for a pitcher. The Blue Jays aren't sure just how serious A.J. Burnett's shoulder injury is, but it's severe enough that it warranted a trip to see the renowned arm specialist.
On Sunday, Toronto placed Burnett back on the 15-day disabled list after the pain in the right-hander's throwing shoulder persisted. Burnett wasn't at Safeco Field with the Jays for the finale against the Mariners, opting instead for a plane ride to Birmingham, Ala., where Andrews will evaluate his arm.
"His shoulder's still bothering him a little bit," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "So, he has to go get it checked out. That's all I know. I don't know anything more than that."
The trip to the DL, which is retroactive to June 29, is the 10th in nine seasons for Burnett, who signed a five-year deal worth $55 million with Toronto prior to last season. His shoulder hadn't presented a problem until this year, when it first flared up in an outing on June 12 in San Francisco.
During that start, Burnett exited the game in the fifth inning after the pain was so sharp that it forced the pitcher to hunch over on the mound. In the three starts prior to that appearance, the 30-year-old had combined to throw 372 pitches, leading him to initially believe the shoulder ailment was the result of fatigue.
Burnett, who is 5-6 with a 4.31 ERA in 15 starts this year, had a brief stint on the DL, but felt well enough to be activated for a start on Thursday in Minnesota. In that outing, he allowed five runs on six hits in just four innings, and his velocity remained around 92-94 mph, which is lower than his typical pitch speed.
"Something just doesn't feel right," said Gibbons, who wouldn't speculate about how much time Burnett might miss.
Getting the call: With Burnett temporarily out of the picture, the Blue Jays recalled right-hander Jesse Litsch from Triple-A Syracuse. Litsch will meet the club in Oakland on Monday, and he's slated to take Burnett's place for Tuesday's start against the A's.
The 22-year-old Litsch made four starts in May for Toronto, going 1-2 with a 6.62 ERA in those outings. In the Minors, Litsch has gone 8-2 with a 2.24 ERA between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse. He was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts for the Chiefs.
Lining things up: Putting Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells back in the leadoff spot for Sunday's game was an easy decision for Gibbons. The Jays went 5-1 when Wells hit first last week, and then 0-3 when he moved back into the No. 3 hole for the past three games.
Gibbons gave the day off to Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus. A main reason was that Glaus has posted a .065 (2-for-32) average in his career against Jeff Weaver, who started on Sunday for Seattle. With Glaus on the bench, Howie Clark started at third base for the Jays.
Did you know? Entering Sunday, the Blue Jays have averaged 6.5 runs in games that Wells served as the leadoff hitter. For the season, Toronto is averaging 4.7 runs per contest.
Quotable: "He wasn't real happy about it, but I'm giving him the day off." --Gibbons, on Glaus
Coming up: Toronto right-hander Josh Towers (3-5, 5.59 ERA) is scheduled to start when the Blue Jays open a three-game series against the A's at 10:05 p.m. ET on Monday at McAfee Coliseum. Oakland will counter with left-hander Lenny DiNardo (3-4, 2.47 ERA).
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.