PHILADELPHIA | Joe Girardi has no hesitation bringing back CC Sabathia on short rest in the World Series. Now the New York Yankees manager needs to decide whether to bring A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte back in similar fashion and go the entire series with a three-man rotation.
Girardi confirmed Saturday that Sabathia will start Game 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday night. This will mark the second time this postseason the left-hander has pitched on three days’ rest - he held the Los Angeles Angels to one run in eight innings in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series - and he feels comfortable with the extra workload.
“I’ve said it all postseason: I’ve had enough rest the past two months to be able to feel comfortable enough to go out there and pitch on three days’ rest,” Sabathia said. “I told Joe that at the beginning of the playoffs; I’m here and available whenever you need me.”
If the series goes the distance, Sabathia is likely to return to pitch Game 7. And Girardi seems to be leaning toward bringing Burnett and Pettitte back on three days’ rest as well for Games 5 and 6 rather than giving No. 4 starter Chad Gaudin his first start of the postseason.
If the Yankees go with that plan, they’ll become the first team in more than a decade to use a three-man rotation in the World Series. The 1998 San Diego Padres used three starters, though that series lasted only four games. The last time three starters on the same team all pitched on short rest was in 1992, when Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery constituted the Atlanta Braves’ entire rotation.
Girardi doesn’t sound worried about breaking precedent or putting added strain on his pitchers’ arms.
“This is the World Series,” the manager said. “There is no baseball after the World Series for four or five months, so there will be plenty of time to rest. A.J. was pretty good on short rest last year, if you look up his numbers. He actually shut us down on short rest last year [while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays]. And they physically feel good.”
Swisher back in lineup
After getting benched for Game 2, Nick Swisher was back in right field for the Yankees.
Girardi had sat the slumping Swisher in favor of utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. but elected to go back with his regular right fielder despite his .114 average and one RBI this postseason.
“Swish has been our right fielder all year long,” Girardi said. “We went by a matchup against [Phillies Game 2 starter Pedro Martinez] - all the success that Hairston had had off of Pedro. And Swish, in Game 6 against the Angels, we thought his at-bats were real good right-handed. His at-bats, even though he didn’t get any hits in Game 1, were right-handed. So that’s why we chose to do what we did.”
Swisher rewarded his manager’s faith with a solo homer in the sixth inning against reliever J.A. Happ.
Phillies pinch-hitting specialist Greg Dobbs was back in the dugout Saturday after missing Game 2 while hospitalized with flulike symptoms.
“Dobbs is ready to go,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “He’s feeling much better, and he’s ready to go tonight. If we could use him, he’ll be available.”