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Yankees to use CC Sabathia on short rest rather than start A.J. Burnett in ALDS

Oct 5, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT

A.J. Burnett is in the second season of a five-year, $82.5 million contract, but the Yankees don’t even trust him enough to start Game 4 of the ALDS and will instead bump Burnett from the rotation while using CC Sabathia on short rest.
And it’s tough to blame them, because Burnett is 1-7 with a 6.61 ERA in 12 starts since August 1 and finished the season with a 5.26 ERA in 33 starts overall.
Including the playoffs Sabathia has made six career starts on three days’ rest, going 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA, and the 6-foot-7 southpaw told the Yankees he’d be “prepared to do that” if he got enough rest down the stretch.
Beyond bumping Burnett from the rotation the decision to bring Sabathia back on short rest for Game 4 also means that Andy Pettitte is lined up to start twice in the series, both in Minnesota, working Game 2 and (if necessary) Game 5. Phil Hughes will pitch Game 3.
Pettitte has pitched more innings and won more games in the playoffs than anyone in baseball history, but he’s also 38 years old and has started just three times since missing two months with a groin injury, giving up 11 runs on 22 hits in 13 innings. Hughes was great in the first half, but may be worn down from a career-high workload and has a 4.90 ERA in the second half. In other words, even while avoiding Burnett the Yankees still have some question marks in the postseason rotation.

  1. The Steve Jeltz Experiment - Oct 5, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Looking forward to Ivan Nova starting Game 5.

  2. Proudly Canadian - Oct 5, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Nice to know that there will be a game 5.

  3. YANKEES1996 - Oct 5, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    This is truly unfortunate that AJ has had this bad of a year especially when you consider what the Yanks are paying him. Dave Eiland does not even seem to know how to fix his problems. AJ is going to have to look deep inside and right the ship, the problem is that he is rapidly running out of time. His problems this season were simply seen as him struggling and now it is very evident that he is not struggling, he is and has been for sometime in a world of hurt. I like AJ Burnett and I believe he is a top pitcher in the game but with the fact that the Yankees did not chase other pitchers during this past offseason and decided that the exisisting rotation was good enough when Phil Hughes beat out Joba for a starting job and throw in Vazquez for good measure the only thing it did was to magnify Burnetts problems. The Yankees should have looked at their pitching closer, harder and more objectively last offseason and if they had this situation with AJ might not be as troubling as it is. The Yankees are asking a lot from CC right now, they are basically asking him the put the entire team on his back and carry them to another title like he carried the Brewers a couple of years ago. The problem is that when you keep asking those kinds of things from your ace, things do not always go your way. Hughes and Pettite will be there and are very capable, but Hughes is in uncharted waters and Andy is just off the DL. I really do believe the Yanks can win it all this year but it is going to take a mammoth effort.

  4. Cincy Sam - Oct 5, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    I don;t like the mo for the Yanks this year. It seems the pitching and the team has been in a struggle for the past three weeks. I think it is the year for Texas.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    Don’t forget the Yankers got screwed by Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal…they probably had a deal in place and Seattle apparently took a lesser package. So they knew their pitching was in trouble. This isn’t a surprise. If CC holds up pitching on short rest in the entire postseason, then he deserves some serious accolades.

  6. doctorfunke - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    CC’s second start won’t matter. Twins in three.

  7. Buffalo - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Hey [doctorfunke] give AJ back his Meth pipe and stop smoking that stuff… it rots your brain!

  8. btberry - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    I think I literally laughed when I heard the Yankees had signed Burnett to such a large contract. This is exactly what I was expecting and hoping for. Guys like Kevin Brown and Mike Hampton were considered horrible contracts because they got hurt and didn’t play. Burnett is actually worse because he’s not hurt – he gives up more runs than a typical number 3 AAA starter would. And to think his contract follows on the Pavano deal just makes it that much better.
    Just imagine how good the Rays would be if they had another $130M a season to spend on contracts.

  9. V... - Oct 5, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    I think AJ’s problems are all in his head… something is screwed up mentally, not physically… pulling him from the rotation will only make that problem much worse… no confidence… The way I see it is, if you’re paying him, and he’s not injured, then take your chances and let him pitch…

  10. Stevem7 - Oct 5, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Truly a shame that the Yankees have decided to go with a 23 man roster for the playoffs. The inclusion of Burnett and Kearns mean the Yankees only have 23 usable players. I think it was extremely shortsighted to leave off two people who could have contributed something instead of taking along 2 spectators who will never be allowed between the white lines.

  11. Pisano - Oct 5, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    Well the Rays don’t have that kind of money , so just look in the mirror and laugh !!!

  12. Pisano - Oct 5, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    Yeah , and there’s a bridge in Brooklyn for sale , are you interested ?

  13. Pisano - Oct 5, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    How many times do you want to see this human strike out machine Kerns take a shit . Who ever decided this guy could help must have been on acid (for you nerds, acid is LSD) Between Kerns , AJ , Vazquez, Joba, and a few others the Yankees will be lucky to get past the first round .

  14. Buccofan - Oct 6, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    I thought that Vazquez, along with Nova, was left off the LDS roster.

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