Updated (1:07 p.m.): This news shouldn’t come as much surprise to Yankee fans, but George A. King of The Post reported this morning that the A.J. Burnett will not be in the ALDS rotation. Instead, as the Yankees just announced via Twitter, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes will make up their rotation for the best-of-five game set against the Twins. Sabathia will take the ball in Games 1 and 4 on short rest while Pettitte will pitch Games 2 and 5 on full rest and Hughes will go on Saturday nigh at Yankee Stadium.
The decision to sit A.J. is a no-brainer for the Yanks as Burnett showed little ability to command his pitches or get outs consistently during the second half of the season, but the move to start Hughes at home might raise an eyebrow or two. Hughes’ home/road splits are extreme, and the young right-hander had a road ERA 1.35 runs lower than his home mark while giving up 0.6 HR/9 IP on the road against a 1.7 mark at home. I have no problem, however, with Pettitte’s taking the ball for a potential Game 5 either. The Yanks have not yet said if Burnett will be on the ALDS roster.
As an addendum, Major League Baseball also announced the umpire crew for the Yanks’ set against the Twins. We’ll have Jerry Crawford, Hunter Wendelstedt, Greg Gibson, Brian O’Nora, Gary Darling and Chris Guccione for the ALDS. That crew seems to feature no one too awful as an umpire. Additionally, Major League Baseball announced that Game 4 will start at 8:07 p.m. ET on Sunday and Game 5 will start at either 8:37 p.m. on Tuesday or 8:07 p.m. ET if the Tampa Bay/Texas series is over.