When CC Sabathia lasted just four innings and threw only 93 pitches on Friday, many speculated that the Yanks would take advantage of this short outing to bring him back on three days’ rest and thus skip A.J. Burnett‘s scheduled start. Yanks’ manager Joe Girardi said today that A.J. Burnett would indeed be getting the ball for Tuesday’s Game 4 start. “I know its been a tough year for him, at times,” the skipper said. “But we believe in A.J.” The Yankees also said they believe in Santa Claus, leprechauns, the Easter Bunny, Big Foot, the Tooth Fairy and diet Dr. Pepper with no calories that tastes just as good as the original.
As Jack Curry noted, the Yanks’ decision to go with A.J. is more about the team’s unwillingness to use Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte on short rest. Considering Hughes’ innings limit and Pettitte’s fragility — he is just four starts removed from a two-month stint on the DL — the Yanks wanted to line up their pitchers to go on full rest. This move also speaks to one of the reasons why Phil Hughes threw yesterday’s game: The Yanks would prefer to line up Pettitte for a potential Game 7 with CC available in the pen. So Andy goes tomorrow, followed by A.J., followed by CC. And so it goes.