Yanks to use Posada as DH during ALDS
Girardi commits to veteran for each game against Tigers
NEW YORK -- Jorge Posada came through with the big hit to clinch the American League East for the Yankees, and they'll look to the veteran for more contributions as the designated hitter in the AL Division Series.
Manager Joe Girardi has confirmed that he plans to use Posada, 40, as the team's DH for all five potential games against the Detroit Tigers, beginning with Friday's Game 1 at 8:37 p.m. ET on TBS.
"Our intent is to use Jorgie as our DH," Girardi said. "We will go with that, and you just play it out."
Posada's pinch-hit two-run single on Sept. 21 against the Rays was a highlight of an otherwise trying season for the lifetime Yankee, who was bumped from catching duties and struggled to adjust to his new role.
"There's not much I could control back then," Posada said. "Obviously, I started really bad and felt like I was doing some things well, but things happen. This is a different season right now. You play 162 games and you look forward. I think everybody in here does."
Yankees captain Derek Jeter, one of Posada's closest friends on the roster, said that Posada's experience as a piece of so many World Series championship clubs can prove invaluable at this point of the season.
"He's been part of it for a long time," Jeter said. "You know when they're up in those situations that he's not going to be intimidated by any situation he's in.
"He's comfortable; we have a lot of confidence in him. I don't really know if you say you're happy for him -- you just assume. He's always been there, you know what I mean?"
There is uncertainty ahead for Posada, who is wrapping up a four-year, $52.4 million deal and may be playing his final games in a Yankees uniform. He shrugged when asked if he will try to soak in the playoff atmosphere a little more in the days to come.
"It's day by day, right now, really," Posada said. "Hopefully, we can keep moving on. That's what you're here for, to play some fun playoff games. I think it comes down to, 'This is what you play for.' You get excited for this."
Girardi will rely on Burnett out of bullpen
NEW YORK -- A.J. Burnett hasn't spent much time pitching out of the bullpen, but that will be his assignment for the Yankees in the American League Division Series.
The club's decision to start Freddy Garcia in Game 3 of the ALDS at Comerica Park, as well as readying ace CC Sabathia to go on short rest if Game 4 is necessary, bumps Burnett to relief work.
"He was good about it," manager Joe Girardi said. "We talked about it, and I gave him the option, because he had just thrown  pitches on Sunday. He said, 'Yeah, I want to give it a shot.'"
Burnett entered Wednesday's game to face one batter, retiring the Rays' Sean Rodriguez on a groundout. Girardi said he might use Burnett in a strikeout situation.
The Yankees have completed their roster for the ALDS and are in the process of having it filed to Major League Baseball, but they will not officially release it until Friday.
Left-hander Raul Valdes and catcher Austin Romine are expected to be left off the roster, though they might have earned more consideration if the Yankees played the lefty-heavy Rangers instead of Detroit.
Chris Dickerson has been told that he made the club as a spare outfielder, while right-hander Bartolo Colon is not believed to be among the 11 pitchers who will be active for the first round.
A-Rod pushing through nagging pains
NEW YORK -- This has been the most frustrating season of Alex Rodriguez's career, the Yankees' third baseman says, but October will present an opportunity to turn all of that around.
Slowed by injuries to his right knee and left thumb this year, Rodriguez wouldn't claim to be 100 percent healthy as the Yankees prepare to host the Tigers in the American League Division Series, but he says he's good enough to start fresh.
"It's a new season," Rodriguez said. "That's one of the great things about playing in New York; it's all about what happens late, especially in October. That's the case for me and my 25 teammates. We play here for one reason, and that's to win a championship."
Rodriguez, 36, was scratched from Wednesday's lineup against the Rays because he felt stiffness in his surgically repaired right knee. Rodriguez said that was mostly a precaution after playing on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field.
"The turf is not really my best friend," Rodriguez said. "I was going to get one or two at-bats, and we just decided that after my work with [hitting coach] Kevin Long, it was probably wise to just get off the turf."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that if Wednesday had been a postseason game, Rodriguez would have played.
"My feeling is he'll be healthy," Girardi said. "But if he's not, that's a big player out of our lineup, or a big player that's not at the top of his game."
Rodriguez said that he has been trying to overcompensate for the thumb injury by using his body too much while swinging, but he believes his usual form can now be restored.
"I'm getting there," Rodriguez said. "Everyone on the field tomorrow is going to have some bumps and bruises. The bottom line is we're all good enough to play. You've just got to play. There's no excuses."
Girardi defends bullpen plan for No. 162
NEW YORK -- The Red Sox might have wished they could take control of Joe Girardi's lineup card late on Wednesday night, but there was no way the Yankees' manager was going to deviate from his bullpen plan.
Simply put, while the Yankees were trying to beat the Rays at Tropicana Field, getting a victory in game No. 162 was not as important to them as having a rested relief staff for Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
"I was trying to win the game," Girardi said. "I had three left-handers, [Aaron Laffey, Boone Logan and Raul Valdes]. They had a number of left-handers together, and it worked very well until the eighth inning. That's when it seemed to unravel."
A six-run eighth inning set up Dan Johnson's game-tying home run in the ninth inning, and Evan Longoria took Scott Proctor deep in the 12th inning to lock up the AL Wild Card for the Rays, eight minutes after the Red Sox were stunned by the Orioles in Baltimore.
Girardi held firm in making sure that Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera would be idle observers to a memorable night, eyeing Thursday as the only off-day before the ALDS.
"You may ask them to go multiple innings at any point in these first two days, [and] you would be pitching them three out of four days if they get in both games," Girardi said. "That's not something I can jeopardize. My first responsibility is to our team.
"We did everything we could to win that game. It wasn't like I stuck a rookie in there and just left him in there for seven innings. [Dellin Betances] got through the two innings, and then I went to work mixing and matching the rest of the game."
Jeter can relate to Red Sox's position
NEW YORK -- The 2011 Red Sox were billed as the cream of the American League East and will be remembered for the worst September collapse in the history of the game.
Derek Jeter took it all in on a television set at Tropicana Field late on Wednesday night, then watched from the visitors' dugout as the Rays secured the AL Wild Card.
Jeter's initial response was: Just when you think you've seen it all ...
"Anything can happen," Jeter said. "We were beating Boston three games to nothing in the  playoffs and lost to them, and everyone said it'd never happened before, it was the biggest collapse in history. That's why you play the games.
"That's why you can't sit down and map stuff out on paper and put numbers down into the computer to figure out what's going to happen. You play the games."
While Jeter didn't go as far to say he felt sympathetic to the Red Sox's plight, he understood their position to some extent.
"I've been on teams similar to what Boston was, and sometimes getting into the playoffs the last month of the season is the most difficult thing to do," Jeter said. "It's not as easy as people may think it is."
Yankees catcher Jesus Montero has a bruise on the ring and pinky fingers of his throwing (right) hand, but he should be fine to play in the American League Division Series, if needed. If he appears, Montero will become the youngest Yankee to see playoff action since 19-year-old Tommy Carroll in 1955 against the Dodgers.
Third baseman Brandon Laird (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) and left fielder Austin Krum (Double-A Trenton, Triple-A) have been honored with Minor League Baseball Gold Glove Awards by Rawlings. One award is presented for each position spanning all of the Minor League levels.
The Yankees have swept each of their last two ALDS matchups, both against the Twins, and their six-game ALDS winning streak is tied for the longest in history. New York finished the regular season by winning 12 of 15 at Yankee Stadium.