A.J. Burnett reacts in the seventh inning aganist the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Two of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on October 29, 2009.
A.J. Burnett is likely to start Game 4 of the AL championship series for the Yankees on 17 days' rest.
General manager Brian Cashman said Monday that the team decided against using a three-man rotation against Texas or Tampa Bay, which would have required CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes to start on three days' rest in the latter part of the best-of-seven series.
"Our fans need to be prepared for a four-man rotation, and that probably includes A.J. Burnett," Cashman said during a telephone conference call. "And we'll be confident when he takes the mound, if that's the case."
Burnett, in the second season of an $82.5 million, five-year contract, 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.
"October can bring out the most competitive side of people," Cashman said. "And I know he'd like to eradicate everything that happened to him in the second half."
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, beating Philadelphia in Game 2 of the World Series and losing on short rest in Game 5.
"He was a big part of why we were successful last year, and he can be a big part of why we're successful this year," Cashman said.