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Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it's possible A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte also could come back on short rest later, leaving New York with a three-man rotation. Sabathia would pitch a possible seventh game.
Sabathia lost to Cliff Lee in the opener and is 3-1 with a 1.52 ERA in four postseason starts. He will face Joe Blanton in Game 4 Sunday night.
"CC has pitched extremely well for us this year," Girardi said before Game 3 Saturday night. "We wanted to see how he came out today, how physically he came out today, and he physically feels good."
Sabathia allowed two runs over seven innings in Wednesday's opener, struggling with his control far more than he did in his previous postseason appearances. He pitched once on three days' rest in the league championship series, beating the Los Angeles Angels 10-1 in Game 4 while allowing five hits in eight innings with five strikeouts and two walks.
Burnett is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four career starts on short rest, including three with Toronto in 2008. Pettitte is 8-7 with a 3.68 ERA in 21 starts on short rest, last doing it in April 2007 following a one-inning relief appearance. He hasn't made a start on short rest coming off a start since September 2006 while with Houston.
"There is no baseball after the World Series for four or five months, so there will be plenty of time to rest," Girardi said. "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. And they physically feel good."
Girardi did not completely commit to Burnett for Game 5 Monday, when Lee will start against for the Phillies. While Girardi said Chad Gaudin was still an option, he appeared to lean toward Burnett, who gave up one run and four hits over seven innings and struck out nine in the Yankees' 3-1 win in Game 2 on Thursday.
Gaudin was 1-0 with a 3.19 ERA as a starter after the Yankees acquired him from San Diego on Aug. 6, making five of 11 appearances in relief. New York won all six starts by the 26-year-old right-hander.
"That's one thing that we like about him," Girardi said. "But he knows how to mix his pitches."
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