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09/29/10 7:42 PM ET

Girardi congratulates retiring Gaston

TORONTO -- Before Yankees manager Joe Girardi met with the media prior to Wednesday's series finale at Rogers Centre, he trotted over to the Blue Jays' dugout.

It was to talk to Cito Gaston, who was managing his final home game. Gaston managed the Blue Jays from 1989-97 and won the World Series in 1992 and '93. He then returned as manager in June 2008.

Gaston, 66, was honored in a ceremony before Wednesday's game. He is retiring after Sunday's season finale in Minnesota and will take an advisory job with the organization.

"Just to congratulate him on a great career," Girardi said after he returned to the Yankees' dugout. "He was someone I looked up to, someone that's done it right for a long time. ... He said, 'Thank you.'

"I often wonder the emotions that managers that have managed a long time may go through. I know what it's like as a player, and it was very difficult. I'm curious if it's the same as a manager."

Pettitte to start Friday in Boston

TORONTO -- Andy Pettitte will start Friday in Boston in his final action before the playoffs begin Oct. 6.

Pettitte was originally scheduled to start Wednesday's finale against the Blue Jays, but when the Yankees clinched a playoff spot with Tuesday's 6-1 win, his start was changed so that he could go into the playoffs closer to regular rest. Javier Vazquez started Wednesday in what could be a postseason audition.

Pettitte will be followed Saturday by A.J. Burnett, and manager Joe Girardi introduced Sunday's starter as "Mr. TBA."

This will be Pettitte's third start since coming back from being on the disabled list from July 19 until Sept. 18 with a groin injury.

Burnett gave up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings against Toronto in a 7-5 loss on Monday and is 10-15 with a 5.33 ERA, making Saturday's start important.

"We want him to pitch well," Girardi said. "We need him. A.J. has been a big part of our success last year, and we need him to get right. He struggled the other day with his command here. Saturday, I'm looking forward to a good start."

Girardi said Phil Hughes will get some work in one of the games in Boston. He said the situation in the standings, whether the division is on the line, could be a factor in determining Sunday's starter. Another factor could be if there are relievers who are part of the postseason plans who need work. Girardi does not want any of them to have too much time between appearances.

No rest yet for Yankees' regulars

TORONTO -- Considering the Yankees clinched a playoff spot with Tuesday's win over the Blue Jays, they trotted out a pretty regular starting lineup for Wednesday's series finale at Rogers Centre.

Only center fielder Greg Golson was an irregular, taking over for Curtis Granderson and batting ninth.

Manager Joe Girardi reminded that the Yankees are still contending for first place in the American League East and for the best record in the league.

"We're going to be smart about it, but we're still playing to win this division," Girardi said.

Players like third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira have physical problems that might be helped by rest.

"I talked to them and they feel good," Girardi said. "When you're trying to win the division, you want those guys in the lineup."

With the playoffs beginning Oct. 6, the Yankees will get a couple days off after Sunday's finale.

"They're going to get Monday and Tuesday next week, and I talked to [Teixeira] and he said he feels good," Girardi said. "He said he wants to play, and I said 'OK.' These guys know their bodies better than I do, that's for sure, and I'll listen to them."

Girardi also got a similar answer from Rodriguez.

"I talked to him, and he said he feels good," Girardi said. "If he feels good, I'm going to play him because of who he is."

Girardi said there might have been some misunderstanding about the Yankees' intentions of going for the division "when we said we're not going to hurt anyone to win our division.

"When [Nick] Swisher had to take a week off, that wasn't because we were resting him," Girardi said. "He was hurt. Teixeira had the bad hand, he was hurt.

"We've never stopped trying to win our division and have the best record in the American League."

After Sabathia, Yankees' rotation in flux

TORONTO -- CC Sabathia will start the opening game of the playoffs for the Yankees, but after that, manager Joe Girardi isn't saying.

For one thing, he said that the Yankees don't know who they are playing yet, and that could have an impact on postseason rotation.

"The only thing I can tell you now -- and it might be the only thing I can give you for a while -- is that CC is going to start Game 1," Girardi said. "First and foremost, we don't know who are opponent is. And we don't know where we're going to be, and there's all of the factors that come into making a rotation."

Girardi doesn't expect to put Sabathia into another game before the postseason after he went 8 1/3 innings in Tuesday's 6-1 win.

"It's pretty hard to do. Seeing he's pitching [next] Wednesday, you're not going to bring him back on short rest after he threw 110 pitches [Tuesday] night. And then if you bring him back on his regular day, then he's pitching on three days' rest again. So it's kind of difficult."

Sabathia has pitched 237 2/3 innings this season.

"He's logged a lot of extra innings, so I'm not sure that little extra rest won't help," Girardi said.

Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.