"It's been awhile, and it's been a tough road since surgery and a tough couple of years," The 25-year-old left-hander said. "The organization helped me keep my head up, and the last 24 hours it turned my way. It's a good feeling."
Burnett turned in a 4-5 record and 4.48 ERA in 15 starts for Indianapolis in 2007. He made the transition from a starter to reliever during Spring Training in February.
Burnett, who has one year and 109 days of Major League service time, made 13 starts for the Pirates in 2004. He owns a 5-5 record and 5.02 ERA in 71.2 big league innings.
The 25-year-old was honored as Pittsburgh's Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2001 and 2002. He was then tabbed the Eastern League's "Best Pitching Prospect" with Double-A Altoona (Pa.) in 2003.
Burnett was taken by the Pirates in the first round of the 2000 draft after going 10-1 with a 1.04 ERA as a senior at Wellington (Fla.) High School.
To make room for Burnett, the Pirates designated Evan Meek for assignment. As a Rule 5 pick, he is required to be placed on waivers for 48 hours, during which time any team can pick him up.
Right-hander Matt Miller, a 36-year-old veteran, has signed a Minor League contract with Pittsburgh and will fill Burnett's Triple-A roster spot.
Miller has not pitched in 2008, but posted an 0-1 record and 2.89 ERA in 38 games for Triple-A Buffalo (N.Y.) a season ago. He is 6-1 with a 2.72 ERA in 100 Major League appearances and 41-39 with a 3.38 ERA in 382 Minor League outings.