NEW YORK -- Ceremonial first pitches for postseason games at Yankee Stadium are usually in the realm of greats from the history books, mixing in the likes of Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford with more recent additions like Reggie Jackson and Bernie Williams.
On Friday, the Yankees took an even more glossy page from their recent history, inviting two active players to take part. All-time postseason saves leader Mariano Rivera lobbed a toss from the mound to Jorge Posada, dressed in his full catching gear.
The Yankees wanted another moment to honor Rivera, who owns a staggering 42 saves in the playoffs and this year surpassed Trevor Hoffman (601) for the all-time regular-season lead as well. But it was also a nod to Posada, the longtime "Key Three" backstop who was supplanted as the starting catcher this year by Russell Martin and bumped to the role of designated hitter.
Posada did get behind the plate for one game this year, making an emergency appearance on Sept. 10 in Anaheim when Martin suffered an injury, but he has also strapped on his chest protector and shin guards to receive another ceremonial first pitch this season. That was on June 27, when the Yankees hosted an emotional sendoff for retiring head athletic trainer Gene Monahan at Yankee Stadium.
Yanks may call on Burnett to start in ALDS
NEW YORK -- There was already a "good possibility" that A.J. Burnett was going to start for the Yankees if they made it to the American League Championship Series, according to manager Joe Girardi, and that was before Friday's game was suspended.
Now that the Yankees' plans of using CC Sabathia twice in the first round could have been spoiled by inclement weather, Burnett is the likeliest bet to join Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia in the American League Division Series rotation, possibly to start Game 4 at Comerica Park on Tuesday.
"That's something we'll have to talk about," manager Joe Girardi said. "A.J. is obviously the most stretched out for us in that situation."
Burnett was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA in 33 games (32 starts) this year, and he had originally been billed as just a relief option in the ALDS, though he was being considered as a potential ALCS starter if the Yankees advance to see the Rangers or Rays in the next round.
Last year, Burnett did not pitch in the AL Division Series against the Twins but was tabbed for a start in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Rangers, serving up a key three-run homer to Bengie Molina in the sixth inning and taking the loss in a 10-3 defeat at Yankee Stadium.
"His last couple of starts have been great," catcher Russell Martin said. "I think when he just goes out there and doesn't think too much and just lets his ability take over, that's when he's great. I don't want to get too far ahead ... but I have all the confidence in world in A.J. He's had some good postseasons. So in his mind, I think he's ready to go."
Teixeira's body and mind ready to go
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira homered twice in the final game of the regular season on Wednesday, including a grand slam off the Rays' David Price, and he is hoping that hot bat carries right into the playoffs.
Those swings came from his natural right-handed side, but with four Detroit right-handers on tap in the American League Division Series, the switch-hitting Teixeira believes he is ready from either side.
"I've been swinging the bat pretty well left-handed the past week, and that's what I'm building on," Teixeira said. "I feel really good going into Friday."
Teixeira's physical state is a great deal better than it was last postseason, manager Joe Girardi said.
"Physically, last year he was a mess -- just a real mess," Girardi said. "I do think he feels a lot better. Last year, he had the broken toe, a bad hand and he ended up ripping his hamstring up. He had a bad knee as well. I think those things really took a toll on him."
As positive as Teixeira felt leaving Tropicana Field on Wednesday and working out at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, he knows that Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander -- off whom Teixeira homered on Opening Day -- presents a tough match.
"Momentum starts in Game 1 of the playoffs," Teixeira said. "In 2009, Cliff Lee went out and threw one of the greatest games that I've ever been a part of, against us, and the next night we came out and beat the Phillies. We took the momentum. It all depends on who's out there [with] starting pitching."
Colon off roster, but Yanks monitoring velocity
NEW YORK -- The Yankees will have a few non-active players in their clubhouse for the American League Division Series, as right-hander Bartolo Colon and catcher Austin Romine will hang around for the games at Yankee Stadium.
Romine will catch in the bullpen for New York, and manager Joe Girardi said that the team is curious if time off will help restore some of the velocity that seemed to be sapped from Colon's arsenal in September.
"We'll have him continue to throw, and maybe the extra rest will help him," Girardi said.
Infielder Ramiro Pena and left-hander Raul Valdes have been sent to the club's complex in Tampa, Fla., to stay sharp in case they are needed as replacements during or after the series.
Girardi said that the Yankees gave consideration to carrying Romine as the backup to catcher Russell Martin, but ultimately they decided they would be fine with Jesus Montero and, in an emergency, Jorge Posada.
"We talked about [Romine], but we decided to go with Montero in that situation," Girardi said. "A lot of it's just because of his bat."