With the way pitcher A.J. Burnett is healing from a fractured orbital bone, he is more likely to return to the team at the front end of the team's eight-to-12 week timetable. Maybe even earlier.

"The sooner the better, if you ask me," said Burnett, who threw his first bullpen side session Saturday since having surgery March 2.

Burnett said the team's original rehab schedule was a bit conservative, adding it made sense because nobody knew how his eye would react to the impact that comes with running and slamming his leg down on the mound over and over again.