A.J. Burnett will pitch Game 4

Updated: October 18, 2010, 3:24 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi plans to stick with right-hander A.J. Burnett in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday, no matter the result of the previous night's matchup between Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte.

Before the Yankees' workout at the Stadium on Sunday, Girardi said CC Sabathia -- who would have been the alternative, working on short rest -- would proceed with his normal between-starts bullpen session. Girardi added that using Sabathia in Game 4 would require Phil Hughes to pitch on short rest in Game 5 on Wednesday, something the 24-year-old right-hander has not been asked to do in his career.

"We set up our rotation for a number of reasons," Girardi said. "We're just staying with it. Phil Hughes has never thrown on short rest. We have Andy Pettitte, who is coming off an injury. There's a lot of things that go into making up your rotation. We believe in A.J. I know it's been a tough year for him at times this year, but we believe in A.J."

Burnett last appeared in a game on Oct. 2, at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. He threw a simulated game last Wednesday in the Bronx between rounds, before the Yankees departed for Texas. During that outing, Burnett hit teammates Greg Golson and Austin Kearns with pitches.

"It's different when they're our guys," Burnett said after the simulated game. "They know I didn't mean to do it. But it's still not a good feeling."

During his final 22 starts of the regular season, Burnett was 4-13 with a 6.48 ERA.

"A.J. hasn't questioned -- and I haven't heard any rumblings from the clubhouse -- 'Am I starting Game 4 of not?'" Girardi said. "...Maybe other people have talked about it, but my message has been clear that we're on rotation."

Adam Rubin is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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