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Yankees Daily Briefing 08/22/11

8/21/2011

After a 5-2 road trip in Kansas City and Minnesota, the Yankees will enjoy an off day Monday before starting a three game set with the Athletics. The Yankees are 5-1 against the Athletics so far this season, continuing a trend, in which they are 26-5 against Oakland since the start of 2008.

Discussion of the Day: What do you think Russell Martin's role should be with the Yankees in 2012, if any? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Behind Enemy Lines: Susan Slusser writes that Brian Fuentes is turning his season around; Yankees fans might remember a certain pitch Fuentes threw in the 2009 ALCS.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that it is time for A.J. Burnett to be held accountable for his behavior.

Certainly, Saturday's postgame was one of the more memorable ones; whether Burnett's words were directed at Joe Girardi remains an issue of interpretation for many, remain a matter of interpretation for many. Focusing on that, however, distracts from the issue that is much more important: Burnett's poor pitching. Burnett's August has simply been awful, with an ERA over 10 in under 20 innings pitched, despite making four starts. If one also includes Burnett's July starts as well, the numbers become better, but not enough to argue that he should remain in the starting rotation over Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova, both of whom pitched as well as one might expect against a depleted Twins lineup. Indeed, it seems that Burnett remains in the rotation only because the Yankees need six starters with a doubleheader this weekend; even then one could argue that the sixth start is better off in the hands of another.

2) Joel Sherman writes that the Yankees have gotten a bargain when it comes to their outfield.

After not signing Carl Crawford in the offseason, the Yankees headed into 2011 with the same three outfielders as 2010 -- Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher, and all three have proven assets. Gardner is arguably the best defensive outfielder in the game, and with a .357 on-base percentage and 36 stolen bases as of Sunday morning, is pulling his weight at the plate as well. Granderson is an MVP candidate (as well as a 30/30 one), and unlike Jose Bautista, has performed consistently all season. Swisher, despite an early slump, has a better OBP than last season. Unlike the Yankees' infield, each of the outfielders is under team control for at least one more season, making them affordable -- even for the Yankees, not something whose importance can be understated.

3) It was a mixed day for the farm system.

Triple-A Scranton's game was suspended due to rain.

Double-A Trenton's game was suspended due to rain.

High-A Tampa beat Brevard County, 6-0, while Low-A Charleston lost to Augusta, 9-1.

Short Season Staten Island beat Lowell, 16-1, while the Rookie GCL Yankees had a scheduled off day.

For Staten Island, Tyler Austin had six hits in six at bats -- including three doubles and a home run.