BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - For the first time in his career, A.J. Burnett is getting the call on opening day.
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has named the veteran righthander the team's starter when the Pirates begin the 2013 season at home on April 1 against the Chicago Cubs.
It's an honor the Pirates expected to bestow upon Burnett last spring after he came over in a trade with the New York Yankees, but Burnett fractured his orbital bone while trying to bunt during his first spring training workout and missed the first month of the season.
The 36-year-old made up for lost time, going 16-10 with a 3.51 ERA in 31 starts.
Hurdle said lefthander Wandy Rodriguez will start the second game but declined to set the rest of his rotation.