Javier Vazquez dropped from rotation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has officially bounced Javier Vazquez from the rotation.

Before Wednesday's Yankees-Rays game, Girardi announced Vazquez would pitch out of the bullpen for the foreseeable future. After CC Sabathia, the returning Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and rookie Ivan Nova will fill out the Yankees rotation.

A year ago, Vazquez was finishing up a season in which he finished fourth in the National League Cy Young voting. On Wednesday, he was told he was out of the rotation, something he expected.

ESPNNewYork.com first reported Vazquez would be removed from the rotation on Sunday. It is the third time he has been taken out of Girardi's rotation.

With Thursday's off day, the Yankees will start Burnett Friday, Sabathia on Saturday and, after two months on the disabled list, Pettitte on Sunday in Baltimore.

Girardi held a series of meetings on Wednesday in his office at Tropicana Field. His talk with Burnett went for around a half-hour. Girardi would not detail the contents of the meeting other than to say they spoke about pitching and life. His meeting with Vazquez lasted one minute, at most.

"He wants to pitch," Girardi said of Vazquez' reaction.

Vazquez and Burnett were both unavailable for comment because Girardi made the announcement when the Yankees were taking batting practice.

While Vazquez has been disappointed about the shuttling back-and-forth from the rotation, he admits if he were pitching better there would not be any problems. Vazquez is 10-9 with 5.09 ERA. Last season with the Braves, he finished 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA.

Dropping Vazquez effectively puts Sabathia on schedule for a rematch with fellow Cy Young candidate David Price of the Rays next Thursday in the Bronx.

Sabathia and Price matched up on Monday in which both pitched eight innings of shutout ball. The Rays eventually won 1-0 in the 11th inning.

Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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