A doctor injected A.J. Burnett with cortisone Monday morning to dull the pain in his groin. He told the 37-year-old righthander that he will require surgery at some point to correct a small inguinal hernia. For Burnett, this was good news.
"I'm going to go about Wednesday like nothing happened," Burnett said.
He will start Wednesday and plans to pitch through the injury for the rest of the season. Surgery would follow. Until then, Burnett said, he must tolerate pain.
"I'm going to have to deal with it," Burnett said. "Paying attention to it, knowing it's there, knowing what I can do to overdo it and knowing what I can do to keep it where it needs to be. I'm more of a go-getter and I'm not really a take-it-easy kind of guy, so it's going to be a test."
Burnett said the diagnosis "freed up" his mind because he knows no serious further damage can come from pitching. He spoke with pitchers who endured the pain and others who succumbed to it. Burnett said his bullpen session Sunday encouraged him; he felt pain just twice.
The injury, Burnett said, contributed to his erratic control. He walked six batters in each of his last two starts. He played catch Monday after the injection. Burnett signed a one-year, $16 million contract in February.
Cole Hamels pitched part of the 2011 season with an inguinal hernia, in which fat or the small intestine bulges through a weak area in the lower abdominal muscles. He eventually underwent offseason surgery to repair it. Doctors told Burnett that surgery would require six to eight weeks of recovery.
Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Burnett can manage the injury because it is not a sports hernia.
"It's something a lot of males have issues with," Proefrock said. "It's something you can be active with and manage. That's the plan for now."
An incorrect call was made in Sunday's 4-3 victory over Miami. Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, informed the Phillies of the transgression late Sunday night.
After Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg prodded the umpires, they asked for a review of a sixth-inning play at the plate when Tony Gwynn Jr. was tagged out. The replay umpire in New York upheld the "out" call.
But Torre said Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia did not provide Gwynn with a clear path to home plate. That is mandatory under the game's new rules.
"It's early in the system," Sandberg said. "Possibly it's a play that's reviewed and shown; they can learn from it. In the rule, it clearly says the catcher has to give a lane to the baserunner. It was taken away the whole time. So, I think they'll learn from that one."