Late last season, A.J. Burnett got on a bit of a roll with Jose Molina as his personal catcher, and so Joe Girardi kept the pair together in the playoffs. This season, Girardi has kept Burnett paired with Francisco Cervelli, but those two have not found the same sort of sustained consistency.
This afternoon, Girardi said he’s considering using Jorge Posada to catch Burnett in the playoffs. It’s under such heavy consideration, Girardi planned to have Posada catch tonight’s game before last night became such a grind.
“In the back of my mind, before we went through last night, I was probably going to start him tonight,” Girardi said. “But with the long game, getting in at 3:30 in the morning or 4 o’clock, I just felt that it was probably in our best interest not to. Originally I had plans to start him.”
Posada said he actually expected to start tonight. He had talked to the coaching staff about the possibility and was hoping to be in the lineup. He wants to catch Burnett in the postseason, but he also seemed to respect the idea of sticking with a hot hand.
“If he has a good game today with Cervelli, you have to respect that move,” Posada said.
Girardi more-or-less said Burnett will have one more start this weekend in Boston. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that Posada will catch that game. Girardi said he would want Posada to catch Burnett in the regular season before pairing them in the playoffs.
“I think that would be important for us to do that,” he said. “That’s something I was looking forward to doing, but the way we played last night, it didn’t make a lot of sense.”
• Mariano Rivera and Dave Eiland went to work this afternoon to correct a slight mechanical problem that the Yankees believe is causing some command problems. “He’s on the side of the ball a little bit, so it’s not a huge deal,” Girardi said. “They’ll get it figured out quick.”
• Girardi said Eiland noticed the mechanical issue while studying film. Rivera said he’s physically fine, just hasn’t gotten the results lately.
• Right now, CC Sabathia is still scheduled to start tomorrow. Will that change if the Yankees clinch tonight? “That’s something we’ll have to discuss,” Girardi said. “I hope we have to make that decision.”
• Girardi wouldn’t say whether Phil Hughes will pitch again in the regular season. “We’ll evaluate that again when we need to,” he said.
• Brett Gardner has been sitting quite a bit against lefties lately, and Girardi said that’s all to do with Curtis Granderson being hot. He wants to start Austin Kearns, and Granderson has been to hot to take out of the lineup, so Gardner has been the odd man out.
• Interesting note about Mark Teixeira, who’s started to hit a little bit in the past week or so. “I think he’s got that whip back (in his wrist),” Girardi said. He had talked about that he didn’t have quite that snap that he needed.” That’s obviously because of the bone bruise in his hand. As that’s healed a little bit, Teixeira has bounced back.
• Celebration if the Yankees clinch a playoff spot but not the division? “The division is very important to us and home-field advantage is very important to us,” Girardi said. “I left it up to the players, and if they want to celebrate, I respect that. However they want to do it, they worked very hard this year, and they should do what they want.”
UPDATE, 6:30 p.m.:Well, there were no more panic emails waiting for me today, instead only a series of “You screwed up the rotation!” emails. Hard to argue with any of those.
Obviously I goofed and typed A.J. Burnett when I meant Andy Pettitte for Wednesday’s series finale here in Toronto. I obviously haven’t had much of a chance to change it until now, but I’ll make the fix. Sorry for any confusion. If the Yankees were going with Burnett on one-day’s rest, I assure you I would at least give that news it’s own headline.
Anyway, here’s the Blue Jays lineup.
Travis Snider LF
Yunel Escobar SS
A.J. Burnett RF
Vernon Wells CF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Andy Pettitte C
Adam Lind DH
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
John McDonald 2B
Associated Press photos of Posada and Rivera