MINNEAPOLIS -- If you ask Yankees manager Joe Girardi and right-hander A.J. Burnett, nothing happened Saturday night, and they have no issue with one another.
But that did not stop Burnett's apparent comments toward Girardi as he walked off the mound after he was removed in the second inning from dominating the manager's pregame meeting with reporters.
Girardi was asked during the session what he hypothetically would do if a player did have the type of reaction that Burnett appeared to have toward Girardi taking him out of the game.
"If a pitcher says that in reference to you taking him out, yeah, I think that's out of line," Girardi said. "But, a) I didn't hear it, the only reason I heard it was people saw it on the broadcast, and, b) I didn't think it was directed at me. I mean, I specifically asked out there, 'Was that a good pitch to Mauer?'"
Adding to the situation was the fact that Burnett went directly into the clubhouse after being taken out of the game, and Girardi went in shortly thereafter. Burnett said he went in just to put his stuff in his locker and came straight back out, while Girardi went in to take another look at Burnett's pitch to Mauer.
According to Burnett, the two never crossed paths. But they did talk later after Girardi was told what Burnett appeared to have said to him.
"Yeah, because I never heard him say a word when I was on the mound," Girardi said. "I was told about it because it was aired on the TV a few times, and I asked him, and I wanted to know what was up. He said he was talking about the pitch, he thought he threw strike three to Joe Mauer."
Girardi said he is still confident in Burnett's ability on the mound, but he also said that they need Burnett to have a "bounce-back start" on Friday against the Orioles.
As for where Burnett stands among the six starters, Girardi will address that when the time comes for the Yankees to go back to a five-man rotation.
One thing Girardi made clear, though, was that he does not want to talk about this Burnett situation any longer.
"If everyone knew and believed in their heart that he was talking about the pitch, would we be talking about this?" Girardi asked. "So your belief is that he wasn't talking about it, and that's why we're talking about it. So you're not taking his word, and to me, that's dangerous."
Laffey odd man out on A-Rod's return
MINNEAPOLIS -- With the Yankees activating Alex Rodriguez from the disabled list on Sunday, recently acquired lefty Aaron Laffey was the odd man out, as he was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Laffey made his debut for the Yankees on Saturday night, tossing three innings and allowing two runs on five hits.
"He's a guy that we believe can help us against left-handers as we move forward here," Girardi said. "He's not going to be able to throw for a couple days anyway."
Laffey will likely return to the Yankees when the rosters expand on Sept. 1. Until then, they would like him to work on a few things in Triple-A.
"I think left-handers are important for him to be consistent [against]," Girardi said. "He was consistent in getting left-handers out until the last month or so, or month and a half. So, get back to doing that."
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.