Burnett underwent surgery this morning to repair the fractured orbital bone in his right eye at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. The surgery was performed by Dr. Randall Beatty.
"A.J. will work through the three step return to pitch progression," said General Manager Neal Huntington. "The initial step will be to heal from the surgery. Secondly we will recondition his arm and body to where he was prior to the injury. Lastly, we will put A.J. through the same progression as he would have gone through here in spring training. The very rough timetable to complete this process and have A.J. prepared to compete without restrictions at the Major League level is 8-12 weeks."
Burnett is expected to return to Pirates camp sometime before the end of spring training.
With Burnett out of the rotation until early May, lefty Erik Bedard will probably be the Bucs opening day starter.