A.J. Burnett returned to the Pirates' camp on Saturday, and he didn't return quietly or tentatively.

Cleared after an early-morning follow-up exam to progress to the second stage of his three-step recovery regimen, Burnett attacked his re-conditioning program with surprising fervor -- considering he underwent eye surgery just eight days ago.

The right-hander rode a stationary bike, and even played some catch at McKechnie Field, to begin the second lap of a comeback that could have him back in the Pirates' rotation by mid-May.

"Everything went well. I'm happy to be back down here with the guys," Burnett said. "I just got through a pretty good bike routine, so I've got some catching up to do. And I worked out a little bit, played some catch. We'll take it day to day. But, as of right now, it feels good."