Less than two weeks ago, AJ Burnett was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a bag of balls. This was a key move for the perennial bottom-dwelling franchise, and Burnett was their Ace to climb out of the hole.
However, the AJ Burnett era hit a snag today, as he injured himself while taking batting practice. While practicing his bunts, Burnett deflected a pitch with his bat that struck him in the eye, fracturing his orbital. Burnett will undergo facial surgery tomorrow to repair the fractured bone, but his Pirates debut is now in question.
Should Pitchers Bat? Since the advent off the Designated Hitter, pitchers have never been productive offensive threats. As the game has modernized, pitchers have become precision throwing machines, and spend very little time practicing their swing mechanics.
Due to this, most pitchers have poor batting habits, which leads to them being an offensive liability as well as a injury liability having these inexperienced batters at the plate and on the base paths. Effective pitchers also come with hefty price tags, so it is a poor practice to expose teams to such risk for such little reward.
Since the begin of the DH era (1973), only 18 pitchers have batted above .300 in a season.