Joe Girardi has not spoken to Cliff Lee this winter, but he has called CC Sabathia — “His rehab is almost complete,” Girardi said — and an Andy Pettitte phone call is in the not-so-distant future. As for the Yankees most unpredictable starter:
“A.J. and I have talked a lot,” Girardi said.
A.J. Burnett has three years left on his $82.5-million deal. He’s going to be in the Yankees rotation next season and beyond, and a repeat of 2010 would be an absolute debacle. Rebuilding Burnett is almost certainly the most important task of Larry Rothschild’s first season as the Yankees pitching coach.
And Burnett seems to know it.
Girardi said this afternoon that Burnett has already reached out to Rothschild, and the two will get to work this offseason. The problem is easy to diagnose but not necessarily easy to fix.
“Refining his mechanics,” is the way Girardi described it.
When Burnett is good, he’s very good. When he’s out of whack, last season happens. With all the moving parts, Girardi said Burnett has to be “on time” in his delivery. It’s not an unusual phrase in baseball circles, but it’s easier said than done.
Rothschild, it seems, has been given his first assignment.
Associated Press photo