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Yankees News & Notes: So far, so good for A.J.

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A.J. Burnett is off to a fast start in 2011. Will it last?
A.J. Burnett is off to a fast start in 2011. Will it last?


A.J. Burnett leads the Yankees in wins through one month of the season. This, of course, is a good thing, especially when considering the strain the rotation is under with Phil Hughes' season in doubt.

Burnett is 4-1 with a 3.93 ERA through six starts. After yesterday's 5-4 win, Burnett stuck to the script about what makes him different from the Allan James who bottomed out with 15 losses and a plus-5.00 ERA a season ago. He continues to talk of an improved mindset — on Saturday he cited his ability to hang tough despite not having an effective curve ball.

"In the past, I’d get ticked off at that," he said. "(Now), I’m not getting bothered by everything."

We shall see. Burnett's started fast before only to fade. He was actually better last April when he went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA. We all know what happened from that point onward. A great April led to a strong May that led to a horrendous June, July and September.

Burnett leads us to believe this year will be different. The Yankees will need to make up for Hughes' 18 wins somewhere, and Burnett represents the most logical replacement as the team's No. 2 starter. The script has yet to write itself, but we're off to a promising start.

Onto the links ...

  • Improved performance with runners in scoring position played a huge part in the Yankees' 15th and final win of April.
  • Nick Swisher on winning without the use of the long ball:  "I don’t care whether we get them by homers or bunts or whatever, walks, either way, man, we feel good." It should be noted here that Nick Swisher feels good ... at all times ... always.
  • It's not a pleasant issue to discuss, but Jorge Posada's ongoing struggles are becoming hard to ignore. He took another 0-fer on Saturday and is down to .125. The six home runs take out the sting a bit, but the numbers tell the story. Georgie doesn't have a hit in a week and his role as the team's designated hitter is in jeopardy. It will be interesting to see how much rope Joe Girardi gives the 39-year-old.
  • Not sure if this was mentioned earlier this week, but a Yankees ticket rep accidentally emailed out a spreadsheet containing account numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of more than 20,000 season-ticket holders. Worst "reply all" mistake ever?
  • Here are the AL East standings entering play today. Just for fun, here are the standings from April 30 of last season, and the World Series-winning year before that.
  • This note from Yankee blogger Mike Axisa: "Red Sox have to go 99-37 the rest of the way to tie the 1927 Yankees. #stupidarticle" He's referring, of course, to NESN senior editor Eric Ortiz's increasingly infamous preseason feature crowning the 2011 Red Sox as the best team of all time. I had some fun at Mr. Ortiz's expense back in January.
  • There don't appear to be any problems in the Burnett-Russell Martin working relationship.
  • Girardi was impressed by Rafael Soriano's performance on Saturday. The reliever picked up a much-needed scoreless inning, going through the heart of the Toronto lineup to do so. "Sori's too talented to not play a big part for us this year and we saw what he's capable of doing."
  • Filip Bondy thinks Brian Cashman deserves credit for the Yankees' successful start this season. I think whatever sits atop of Filip Bondy's head has a pulse.

Until next time, hang onto the roof ...

Dan Hanzus is a writer for Pinstripe Alley. He can be reached at dhanzus@gmail or on Twitter @danhanzus.