Burnett plans to pitch in 2014

A.J. Burnett

At one point, A.J. Burnett declared he was either going to retire after the 2013 season or pitch again for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014.

His status remained uncertain, but there didn't seem to be any urgency since the free-agent pitching market was in limbo while all of baseball waited for a decision from Masahiro Tanaka. With Tanaka committed to the Yankees, and other pitching plans taking shape, Burnett's plan is coming into focus.

A unnamed source told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Burnett plans to pitch in 2014. However — and here's the rub — it's sounding like Burnett has backed away from his two-option plan. There's a third option. Go someplace else.

Maybe, at age 37, coming off a season in which he earned $16.5 million, right-hander Burnett wants to test the free-agent market one last time.

"I can't say he has not. I'm not aware of every discussion there might have been," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "All I can say is he has been very public with his intent to pitch in Pittsburgh or not pitch at all. Do I blindly put faith in that? No. But he's been very open with us, and continues to be very open."

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