N.Y. Yankees to Omit A.J. Burnett From Division Series Pitching Rotation

The New York Yankees plan to skip A.J. Burnett’s spot in the rotation during their American League division series against the Minnesota Twins.

CC Sabathia will start Game 1 in Minnesota today, with Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes making the following starts in the best-of-five playoff series, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said yesterday at a news conference. Sabathia would then take the mound on short rest if Game 4 is needed and Pettitte would pitch Game 5 on regular rest.

Burnett, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Yankees in December 2008, went 10-15 with a 5.26 earned run average this season, dropping seven of his last eight decisions.

Sabathia and Pettitte are left-handers. Burnett is a righty.

“A.J. will pitch out of the bullpen, but if we need him to start a game, he will start a game,” Girardi said. “We felt with all the left-handed hitters we would try to throw four lefties at them in five games.”

Burnett went 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA in five starts during the Yankees’ championship run last season. He allowed one run on four hits in Game 2 of the World Series and lasted just two innings in Game 5, allowing six earned runs in an 8-6 defeat. The Yankees went on to claim their 27th championship in six games.

Photographer: J. Meric/Getty Images

C.C. Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 13, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Close

C.C. Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the... Read More

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Photographer: J. Meric/Getty Images

C.C. Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 13, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Yankees also said yesterday that they left pitchers Javier Vazquez and Ivan Nova off the roster for their first- round playoff series against the Twins.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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