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Burnett solidifies rotation role

The Sports Xchange

A.J. Burnett delivered his best outing in more than two months, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Burnett gave up two runs on five hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings, and while he didn't factor into the decision in the Yankees' 4-2 win over the Red Sox, he likely did enough to hold on to his spot in the rotation.

"A.J. gave us a great performance," manager Joe Girardi said. "Outstanding; I'm very proud of what he did."

Burnett made some mechanical adjustments with pitching coach Larry Rothschild between starts, changing the starting position of his hands and shortening the turn of his body before he delivers the ball. The results were clear, as he didn't miss over the middle often, his arm slot remaining consistent throughout most of his 96-pitch outing.

"That's definitely something I can work with," Burnett said. "I felt real comfortable with that, and I've only been working on it for three days."

Burnett said he approached Thursday's start like a playoff game, knowing what was on the line for both his team and himself. He gave up a 1-0 lead after serving up a two-run home run to Dustin Pedroia, but he didn't allow anything else, giving the Yankees a chance to come back later against Boston's bullpen.

"I was locked in on every pitch. I didn't let anything bother me," Burnett said. "It feels good to keep my team in it. You want to go deeper, but to bounce back after the homer, go as long as I could go and leave it all out there, it was all that I could do."

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