CHICAGO - A.J. Burnett is set to return to the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation.
Manager Clint Hurdle says the veteran right-hander will start Sunday against the Chicago Cubs after being sidelined the past month because of a strained right calf.
Burnett apparently looked good enough in his bullpen sessions and simulated game that the Pirates decided a minor league rehab start was not necessary. Hurdle said Friday he didn't think his pitcher would be "as stimulated" as he would pitching at Wrigley Field.
Burnett is 4-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 14 starts, but even without him, the Pirates continue to roll along.
They entered Friday's game against the Cubs with a major league-leading 52-32 record and a two-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central.