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Girardi wants Burnett to 'step up' Monday

A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett

#34 SP

New York Yankees

2011 STATS

  • GM30
  • W10

  • L11

  • BB80

  • K159

  • ERA5.20

The Yankees starting rotation hasn't been going deep in games lately and struggling to put together quality outings. Monday, A.J. Burnett gets the start against Minnesotaand manager Joe Girardi wants to see his inconsistent starter raise his game.

"I think it's important for him to step up and give us distance and go out and throw the ball they way he did the last three innings the other night in Seattle, where he seemed to have command of everything, his curveball was outstanding, his changeup was good," Girardi said. "I think it's a chance for him to step up here."

Last time out against Seattle, Burnett got the win as he gave up just two runs in six innings, shutting down the Mariners in the final three innings. From the fourth inning on, Burnett stumbled upon new mechanics that helped guide him through the start.

When the Yankees tried changing Burnett's mechanics earlier this year, they tried to take away his hands going all the way back, which eliminated some of the turn on his body. Against Seattle, Burnett found himself turning back a little more and it proved to be beneficial to him.

"For whatever reason, that really clicked for him and I hope it clicks again," Girardi said.

A big start from Burnett against the Twins Monday would be a welcome sign for Girardi and the Yankees as their rotation has struggled lately. CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia were not particularly effective against Toronto and the Yankees are just 4-7 in their last 11 games.

"I think that whenever you look at a ball club, no matter what time of year it is, it starts with starting pitching and it's key to your success and we haven't at times recently got a lot of distance out of our starters, which makes it a lot tougher on our bullpen and sometimes when you're going through that you're behind in the game," Girardi said. "You use different people in the game. Starting pitching is a concern at all times, whether it's day one or day 100. It's always going to be a concern because that's what wins ballgames."