Count Joe Girardi among the believers. The Yankee manager, an avowed "positive thinker,'' sounded absolutely positive A.J. Burnett will rebound from his horrendous 2010 season (10-15, 5.26 ERA) and be a valuable part of the 2011 Yankees rotation.
"I think A.J. is a competitor,'' Girardi said. "I think he really cares. I think he knows the importance of when he goes out there every fifth day, how important it is to our club. I think he understands it. He was frustrated last year, there's no doubt about it.''
Girardi said Burnett "has spoken'' with new pitching coach Larry Rothschild but it was unclear whether the two have done anything more than just talk so far. "I just really think A.J. is going to have a bounceback year, I do,'' he said. "But I tend to look at the positive side of things.''