Yankees to use CC Sabathia on short rest rather than start A.J. Burnett in ALDS

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A.J. Burnett is in the second season of a five-year, $82.5 million contract, but the Yankees don’t even trust him enough to start Game 4 of the ALDS and will instead bump Burnett from the rotation while using CC Sabathia on short rest.
And it’s tough to blame them, because Burnett is 1-7 with a 6.61 ERA in 12 starts since August 1 and finished the season with a 5.26 ERA in 33 starts overall.
Including the playoffs Sabathia has made six career starts on three days’ rest, going 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA, and the 6-foot-7 southpaw told the Yankees he’d be “prepared to do that” if he got enough rest down the stretch.
Beyond bumping Burnett from the rotation the decision to bring Sabathia back on short rest for Game 4 also means that Andy Pettitte is lined up to start twice in the series, both in Minnesota, working Game 2 and (if necessary) Game 5. Phil Hughes will pitch Game 3.
Pettitte has pitched more innings and won more games in the playoffs than anyone in baseball history, but he’s also 38 years old and has started just three times since missing two months with a groin injury, giving up 11 runs on 22 hits in 13 innings. Hughes was great in the first half, but may be worn down from a career-high workload and has a 4.90 ERA in the second half. In other words, even while avoiding Burnett the Yankees still have some question marks in the postseason rotation.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.