Thursday will be the first day of the rest of Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett's season. The veteran announced Tuesday his decision to postpone surgery and pitch through the pain caused by an inguinal hernia.
Burnett, who received a cortisone injection on Monday, described his condition as "manageable." He will begin to manage when he pitches opposite Braves southpaw Alex Wood on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park.
"I guess 'manageable' [means] that I'm going to have to deal with it," Burnett said on Tuesday. "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, who said he has pitched with worse, will battle pain as he tries to duplicate the success he enjoyed in his regular-season debut on April 1 against the Rangers. He gave up only one run on seven hits and two walks in six innings.
However, he has struggled with his command since then. Burnett walked 12 batters in his past two starts. He was especially laboring in his most recent outing, with six walks in 4 1/3 innings when he exited with pain due to his hernia.
Meanwhile, Wood has demonstrated much better command, walking only six batters in three starts. His lone issue so far this season is the leadoff home run. In two of his three starts, Wood has served up a long ball to the first batter he faced.
But the most pressing number for Wood as of late is his pitch count. He threw 107 pitches in seven innings of a 2-1 loss to the Nationals on April 6 and 103 in five innings of a 6-3 win against Washington five days later.
Wood eclipsed the century mark only once in 77 2/3 innings in the Majors last season, logging 105 pitches in 5 2/3 innings against the Indians on Aug. 27, 2013. Despite his increased workload this season, Wood feels healthy on the mound.
"I feel all right," Wood said on April 12. "Honestly, tonight was probably the best my body's felt all spring or in a while, definitely since the start. So, I mean, from that aspect, I feel really happy about it. Not necessarily the 105 pitches in five innings, but you know, it kind of happens sometimes, so you've just got to go from there."
Braves: Kimbrel fine after shoulder soreness
Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel went through a successful workout on Wednesday, but the Braves decided to rest the right-hander rather than pitching him in a ninth-inning situation in a 1-0 win against the Phillies.
"I felt so good, I didn't need to throw another pitch," Kimbrel said after a scheduled session before Wednesday's game. "It went good today. The ball was coming out of my hand good. The offspeed was good and nothing was uncomfortable."
Kimbrel was unavailable on Monday night due to shoulder soreness that neither he nor Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez considered serious. He played catch on Tuesday without issue before he his workout on Wednesday went well.
"Yesterday was just a side throw," Kimbrel said. "I didn't throw anything hard enough to know anything."
• Andrelton Simmons became the first player since Willard Marshall in 1951 to hit both a home run and a triple in consecutive games, accomplishing the feat in a 10-2 win against the Nationals on Sunday and a 9-6 win against the Phillies on Monday.
• Braves catcher Evan Gattis finished with a career-high four hits and a solo home run on Wednesday night, continuing a tear against the Phillies that began in 2013.
Gattis has homered six times in his past seven games against Philadelphia, including three dingers in his past five games at Citizens Bank Park. His success against the Phillies has helped Gattis pad his season numbers. He has nine hits in his past 15 at-bats and is hitting .378 (14-for-37) this season.
Phillies: Hamels nears comeback
Cole Hamels is scheduled to make a rehab start Thursday with Class A Advanced Clearwater, which should be his final one before rejoining the Phillies' rotation.
Nobody would say it is a lock, but everybody in the organization seems optimistic that if Thursday goes well as expected, Hamels will rejoin the rotation next week in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
Hamels opened the season on the disabled list because of inflammation in his left shoulder. He has sustained no setbacks since March 1.
• The Phillies signed left-hander Adam Loewen to a Minor League contract and assigned him to extended spring training. Loewen, a former pitcher with the Orioles, spent the past five seasons playing first base and outfield in the Mets' and Blue Jays' systems.
• Phillies right-handed reliever Ethan Martin (right shoulder inflammation) started to throw bullpen sessions and outfielder Darin Ruf (strained left oblique) started baseball activities and should begin a hitting progression early next week. Right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (right shoulder tendinitis) is getting close to throwing off a mound again. He is on the 60-day DL.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.