NEW YORK – A.J. Burnett will start Game 4 of the AL championship series for the New York Yankees on 2½ weeks' rest.
General manager Brian Cashman said Monday that New York decided against using a three-man rotation against Texas or Tampa Bay, which would have required CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes to all start on three days' rest in the latter part of the best-of-seven series.
"We hope he pitches well for us," Cashman said. "We believe in him every time he takes the mound, but he has struggled, no question about it, here in the second half. But that was then. This is now. He's a very competitive person. We believe that competitive nature will allow him to step up and do a great job for us. We look forward to that. But you can't run away from how he pitched in the second half. He didn't pitch well."
In the second season of an $82.5 million, five-year contract, Burnett did not appear against Minnesota in the division series and has not pitched in a game since Oct. 2. He was 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA during the regular season, including 4-13 with a 6.48 ERA over the final four months and 1-7 from Aug. 1 on.
"He's got a very complicated delivery," Cashman said. "But when he's on, he's as tough as they come."
If the series against the Twins had gone to four games, Sabathia would have started Game 4 on short rest.
"I'm not going to cause drama or be the bad apple," Burnett said when told he was being dropped from the first-round rotation.
At the time, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he appreciated Burnett's reaction.
"I didn't know how he would take it," Girardi said. "But we talked about it and he seemed like he's on board. He's going to do whatever he can to help us."
Burnett was 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA in five postseason starts last year, beating Philadelphia in Game 2 of the World Series and losing on short rest in Game 5.
Because on an extra off day during last year's ALCS, Sabathia was the only Yankees' starter who came back on short rest.
"The schedule is different," Cashman said. "Instead of one guy going on short rest, you're going to also have Hughes and Pettitte. It's just not good to go with a three-man."
Cashman said he hadn't thought ahead to how the Yankees would structure their rotation if they advance to the World Series. Last year, Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte all pitched on three days' rest against the Phillies.
NOTES: Cashman said LHP Damaso Marte, who hadn't pitched in a game since July 7, probably will have shoulder surgery. ... RHP Joba Chamberlain, LHP Boone Logan, RHP Sergio Mitre, RHP Dustin Moseley, RHP David Robertson and RHP Kerry Wood are scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Tuesday against Francisco Cervelli, Greg Golson, Austin Kearns and Ramiro Pena before the Yankees resume workouts later in the day.