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Pirates RHP A.J. Burnett takes a step closer to return

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PITTSBURGH — Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett is hopeful of returning to the rotation by mid-September following a 71-pitch bullpen session.

The 38-year-old Burnett has been on the disabled list since July 31 with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow. He says Sunday's bullpen session was "good, better than expected."

Burnett is scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday and then hopes to make a start during a four-game home series against the Chicago Cubs from Sept. 15-17.

Burnett is 8-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 21 starts.

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