In 25 days, Pirates pitchers and catchers will report for spring training. Pitching coach Ray Searage is taking a realistic approach as to whether A.J. Burnett will be among them.

“I’m going without A.J. until I hear differently,” Searage said last week. “I have to.”

Roughly three months have passed since Burnett, the free-agent right-hander who spent the past two seasons here, told KDKA-FM that he planned to return to the Pirates or retire. Burnett, 37, has given no indication of his plans, and Searage said he has not heard from Burnett despite reaching out. General manager Neal Huntington said last week that he continues to communicate with the Burnett camp.

“Still working through the process,” Huntington said.

A recent report in the Baltimore Sun suggested that the Orioles were interested in Burnett, who lives in Maryland in the offseason. Burnett has given no indication that he has shifted from his Pirates-or-retire stance in October; he did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Burnett’s decision will impact several areas. Here are some ramifications:

The rotation

Without Burnett, the rotation likely will consist of Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Wandy Rodriguez and Edinson Volquez, who signed a one-year, $5 million contract in December. The Pirates’ starting depth consists of Jeff Locke, Brandon Cumpton and Phil Irwin. Jeanmar Gomez showed in 2013 that he can start if necessary, and Stolmy Pimentel pitched almost exclusively as a starter in his minor league career.

If Burnett returned, he would force someone from the rotation. Between the money the pitchers will earn and their level of performance, there is no clear-cut candidate for removal. The Pirates, however, have had more starters than rotation spots on the roster before and figured it out as they went, covering for injuries and sending starters to the bullpen if necessary.