Saturday, March 19, 2011

Girardi gives embattled AJ Burnett a boost

A major part of Joe Girardi’s job this year will be to manage AJ Burnett’s fragile psyche. It started today with Girardi naming Burnett the #2 starter in his rotation.

There’s no way that Girardi & Co have fewer questions about Burnett than they do about Phil Hughes, who after last year’s performance probably deserves to be considered the #2 guy in the New York Yankees rotation. In fact, I think it’s safe to say they have way more confidence in the young Mr. Hughes than they do in Mr. Erratic. But they have to do everything they can to boost Burnett’s ego and naming him the guy after ace CC Sabathia will avoid any hurt feelings AJ may have over losing his spot to a kid.

I don’t have a problem with Girardi’s move. I think he wisely understands that getting AJ right is going to be critical for the Yankees this year, especially since we don’t know what the Yankees will get out of the back end of their rotation. And Hughes is so mature for his age that I don’t think he will have any problem with officially being the #3 guy, even if he really does deserve to get the ball after CC. Sad to say that the youngster is a lot less of a head case than the veteran, but that’s the reality of the situation.

Girardi is going to do whatever he has to get AJ on track. And we should all be supportive of that because the Yankees’ chances of success are pretty dismal without a solid year out of Burnett.

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