A.J. Burnett Out of Yankees ALDS Rotation

Via the NY Post:

Because of A.J. Burnett‘s miserable season, the Yankees will use [CC Sabathia], Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes in the best-of-five series that opens tomorrow night against the AL Central champion Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Even though Burnett was 1-0 with 1.54 ERA in two games against the Twins this year, it would be sending the wrong message to the players to give the right-hander a start considering he went 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA in his last five starts when hitters batted .291 against him.

Working on short rest if Game 4 is required is fine with Sabathia, one of the leading AL Cy Young candidates, who posted a career-high 21 wins.

“I told Joe [Girardi] and Dave [Eiland] I will be prepared to do that,” Sabathia said. “If I got enough rest I want to pitch.”

Burnett has been beyond bad for most of the season so this is a great move. No reason to tempt fate and give him a start. Last year the Yankees had to rely on him because there really were no other options. This year he has been more consistently bad and Hughes is available to step in and take his rotation spot.

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10 Responses to A.J. Burnett Out of Yankees ALDS Rotation

  1. Mike S. says:

    I hope he isn't even on the team in the first round; let an experienced long reliever be on the team instead of putting Burnett in a role that he doesn't know about. It isn't as easy as it seems just plopping a starter into the long-man role (see Vazquez, 2004). The ability to warm up quickly, for instance. I'm all for sending A.J. to Tampa for a week, hopefully work out some kinks, then if the Yanks make the ALCS, bring him back onto the roster. In the meantime, fill his spot with an extra reliever.

    • TC says:

      Yeah, agree. Nothing would motivate, one would think, like getting bumped completely off the team. He has to be deeply humiliated. I hope he figures out what the problem is. I've been wondering if he's been tipping his pitches, had this been looked into? Also, I wonder how big the problem with Posada is. Cervelli may be too young to help a veteran pitcher through a deep slump?

  2. I would agree that the best thing for the Yankees may be to send AJ to Tampa to workout for a week, but when it comes to coming in for long relief, don't make it out to be like it's a big deal. Most of the time the team would be down anyways so it's not exactly a make or break situation in the first place. Potentially Burnett is a lot better than Mitre, Moseley, or Gaudin. Remember Mussina back in 2003, I could see Burnett giving a similar performance.

  3. Jason from The Heart says:

    I concur with Rob about Burnett and the likely role of long reliever. Hughes did wonders in the lone Yankees playoff win of 2007, relieving Clemens in Game 3, like Mussina in '03. A little rest might also bump up his velocity. Regardless, the biggest thing is his not starting in the ALDS, which is just fine with me. C.C. on short rest should be fine and, if there is a fifth game, Pettite would be in regular rest.

  4. Mike S. says:

    Somehow, I don't have the faith in A.J. in long relief as with a Hughes or Mussina. Maybe because of the amount of runners A.J. lets steal against him.

    Roster out. A.J. on. Apparently for long relief.

    Off are Nova, Vazquez, Gaudin (Mitre made it) and Ring.

    Golson, Pena are on. Nunez off. Just two catchers, so no Moeller.

  5. Eric Communiello says:

    Don't burn me at the stake here, but I think AJ could be pretty good out of the bullpen if the moment arises. Coming in for only an inning at a time, he'd be able to really dial it up and throw gas. Match that with his curveball and you've got a lesser version of D-Rob/Wood.

    Mitre and Moseley are on the roster for long relief duty, so I don't expect AJ to be used in that role.

  6. Jason from The Heart says:

    I feel similarly, Eric.

    • Jason from The Heart says:

      That is, I see potential but an unlikely incident of A.J. in long relief, but think he can be effective in relief. I wouldn't be too surprised to see Burnett matched up against, say, Cuddyer (2-20 versus A.J.), or Young (3-15, but has torn it up of late in Morneau's absence).

  7. Jason from The Heart says:

    I keep forgetting tidbits as phone calls about the Yankees and the playoffs filter in. Additionally (maybe lastly), I like Nova out of the bullpen, but cannot help but wonder if he will get a shot at a few of the righties in key situations in middle relief.

    • Jason from The Heart says:

      Apologies. I thought Nova was on. I guess there was a reason i forgot to mention this before…