With AL East clinched, Yankees laugh about rainout

After yet another rainout, Yankees manager Joe Girardi couldn’t

resist joking about what was in his team’s future.

”Split-doubleheader during the playoffs,” he predicted.

It’s been that type of season for the Yankees. But with the AL

East already clinched, they can laugh about the weather.

Friday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox, the start of the

last home series of the regular season, was postponed by rain and

will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday.

While there was only a light drizzle when the game was called after

a few minutes after the scheduled 7:05 p.m. start, the forecast was

for lousy weather.

”It makes sense,” Girardi said. ”I mean, it’s going to rain

all night, so get out of here.”

New York has had a major league-high nine postponements,

including five home games. Twenty-one other games have been

delayed, including a Sept. 6 contest against Baltimore that started

at 11:08 p.m. and ended at 2:15 a.m.

Freddy Garcia (11-8) was pushed back to Saturday’s 4:10 p.m.

game, when the Red Sox will start Jon Lester (15-8).

A.J. Burnett (10-11) and Ivan Nova (16-4) will start Sunday,

with Tim Wakefield (7-7) and John Lackey (12-12) going for the Red

Sox. Both managers were unsure who would start in the 1:05 p.m.

game and who would be held back for the 6:30 p.m. makeup.

Before the rainout, Girardi said Nova will be one of New York’s

postseason starters, along with CC Sabathia (19-8). That’s not a

surprise, given the other options are Phil Hughes (5-5 and

sidelined the past week by a back spasm), A.J. Burnett (2-5 with a

7.02 ERA since July 1), Bartolo Colon (0-4 with a 5.58 ERA since

Aug. 1) and Garcia (0-1 with a 10.55 ERA in his last three

starts).

While the rainout caused the Red Sox to slot in Lester on three

days’ rest for their regular-season finale at Baltimore on

Wednesday, the Yankees have been in a six-man rotation. Sabathia is

being skipped over to line him up for the postseason opener.

”It doesn’t make any difference,” Burnett said.

One day after clinching the division title, Girardi used a

spring training-like lineup in Thursday’s 15-8 loss to Tampa Bay.

He planned to go back to his regulars on Friday before the washout

– not because he felt he owed it to the Red Sox and Rays, who are

fighting for the AL wild card, but to keep players sharp heading

into the playoffs.

He’ll spread out rest time over the final week.

”I might pick to give one or two guys a day,” Girardi said.

”My first concern is making sure our guys are ready next

Friday.”

NOTES: 2B Robinson Cano said his previous comment that he would

vote for himself as AL MVP wasn’t meant to be taken all that

seriously. ”Let’s say you are the president, when they have to

(vote) at the end, they pick themselves. It’s the same thing. I

never said that I am or want to be.” With a .305 average, 27

homers and 116 RBIs, Cano said ”the numbers are there.” But asked

again who should win, he told writers: ”Whoever you guys

pick.”