Thursday, September 2, 2010

AJ Burnett holds on to his starting job for now

AJ Burnett pitched just well enough to keep his spot in the New York Yankees rotation. For now.

If Burnett didn’t have a solid start yesterday, it would have been him being replaced in the rotation by Javier Vazquez instead of Dustin Moseley. But in giving up three runs in six innings and striking out eight batters with his wicked stuff, AJ’s outing was sufficient to get another start in five days.

But Burnett is not out of the woods yet. He has to continue to show progress in the one or two starts he has between now and mid-September when Andy Pettitte hopefully comes off the disabled list. It's possible that the Yankees might choose to sit Phil Hughes for a start when Pettitte comes back because of the innings limit. But I think it's more likely that Pettitte would replace Burnett in the rotation if AJ is still struggling. The Yankees can't keep sending Burnett to the mound when they have 10 games in 13 days against the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox that will likely decide the American League East.

If Burnett wants to keep his job, he's going to have to step it up in September against some pretty tough competition. Let’s see if he is up to the challenge.

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