Burnett throws four-inning simulated game

Updated: August 1, 2007, 2:34 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Blue Jays right-hander A.J. Burnett threw a four-inning simulated game Wednesday.

Burnett was scheduled to make a minor-league rehab start for the Gulf Coast Blue Jays, but rain forced the 30-year-old to throw a 61-pitch outing instead at Tropicana Field before the Blue Jays played Tampa Bay.

"Throwing balls felt good," Burnett said. "Curveball was sharp, and it felt good to be on the hill. I mean, I feel ready. My arm feels great and my command looks sharp. I'm ready to go."

Burnett went on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season on June 29 because of a right shoulder injury, just one day after returning from the first stint on the DL.

Toronto manager John Gibbons said there is no date set for Burnett's next rehab start, but it could come Monday at Triple-A Syracuse.

"He looked good from here," Gibbons said. "I think he probably needs to get into a game situation, but there's nothing set yet."

Burnett, 5-6, with a 4.31 ERA, has been on the DL 10 times in nine seasons -- six times with Florida -- and four times since signing a $55 million, five-year contract with Toronto before the 2006 season.

Designated hitter Frank Thomas was out of starting lineup for the second straight day. Gibbons said he wanted to get outfielder Matt Stairs some playing time but also wanted to give Thomas three days' rest. The Blue Jays have Thursday off before playing Texas at home Friday.

"Frank is fine," Gibbons said.

Thomas is batting .250 with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs this season and is 21st with 503 home runs.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press