Judgment day is coming for the Yankees' starters.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Thursday the Yankees feel they need to get their rotation back to five starters and the plan is to have the rotation set before the Yankees leave for their seven-game road trip starting Monday against Kansas City.
"It's something that we'll continue to monitor and you don't know what's going to happen in the next few days," Girardi said. "You have no idea."
From all indications, and the recent results, the odd man out in the rotation is likely either Phil Hughes or A.J. Burnett. Burnett is 8-9 with a 4.60 ERA and has not won since June while Hughes is 2-4 with a 7.11 ERA, the highest ERA among any team starters. Hughes pitches Saturday against Tampa Bay while Burnett pitched Tuesday and struggled against the Angels.
With no off day upcoming next week, the Yankees will not affect the resting period for their starters when they subtract the sixth starter from the rotation. Girardi said his mind could change in the upcoming days regarding the rotation and whomever gets pulled could be used as a spot starter.
KIND OF A SURPRISE: When the Yankees signed Thursday's starter, Bartolo Colon, it wasn't known whether he would even make the starting rotation, let alone the team. Yet, here is Colon, with an 8-6 record and 3.33 ERA as the season heads down the stretch.
"I can't tell you I really expected him to be like this in August, just because of what he's been through the last four or five years," Girardi said. "And as I said, some of the extra rest, maybe even the (Disabled List) stint, might have helped him recharge a little bit."
Girardi said he believes Colon has been able to sustain his success because he's efficient and the team has been able to get him extra days of rest at times. The manager also thinks Colon's time on the DL with a strained left hamstring in June and July may have helped him stay fresh.
"He’s been the biggest surprise all year for us. Pleasant surprise. Because when he came into spring training we had no idea what we were going to get from him," Girardi said. "When we started the season we weren't sure how many innings we were going to get from him. He’s probably exceeded every one of our expectations. He’s one of the reasons we are where we are."
THAT GUY: Rafael Soriano has been lights out since his return from the disabled list after struggling at the beginning of the season. Girardi said he thinks it takes some time to get adjusted to a new team, as Soriano signed in the offseason, but doesn't have a concrete reason of why Soriano has been so effective in his return to the bullpen.
JORGE GETTING IN: With Jorge Posada now just a bench player, Girardi said he's going to look for days to use Posada as the designated hitter, as well as at first base. Girardi said there is no set game that Posada will play in, but said Posada has to play to try and keep him fresh.