Rift? What rift?
They’ll get a chance to prove their point Wednesday night against the Boston Red Sox when Burnett takes the mound with Posada behind the plate for the first time since they argued publicly at Fenway Park last summer.
In an effort to bolster their rotation, the Yankees (0-1) signed Burnett to an $82.5 million, five-year contract prior to last season. The right-hander, however, struggled at times and finished with a 13-9 record and 4.04 ERA.
Burnett hit his low point during August. He went 0-4 with a 6.03 ERA in six starts, including a 14-1 loss at Boston on Aug. 22.
In that outing, Burnett was tagged for nine runs and nine hits while serving up three homers in five innings. It was also the last time Posada caught him, as the two visibly argued over pitches.
With Molina joining Toronto as a free agent, manager Joe Girardi is pairing Burnett with Posada again, and the catcher claims there are no problems.
“It’s perfect,” Posada told the team’s official Web site. “Let’s get it out of the way right away. I’m looking forward to it.”
The tandem got five starts together in spring training, as Burnett went 2-1 with a 5.12 ERA and felt the relationship is improving.
“It’s helped big time, especially the past couple of starts of the spring, when he’s caught,” Burnett said. “I’ve noticed he’s been a lot more confident back there, and that makes me comfortable.”
Girardi felt the controversy was overblown by the media, noting “it took on a bigger picture because we’re in New York.”
Now, Burnett will try to re-establish his success against the Red Sox (1-0) after the Yankees lost 9-7 on Sunday in the first of this season-opening three-game set. Posada had three hits, including a homer and two RBIs.
Burnett went 0-2 with an 8.85 ERA in four starts versus Boston last season after going 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his eight prior games with the Blue Jays.
The Red Sox hit .379 with six homers off Burnett, winning all three games against him at Fenway last year. They showed they’re going to be an offensive force again in 2010, collecting 12 hits - including a homer from Dustin Pedroia(notes) to rally from a four-run, fifth-inning deficit Sunday.
“We all have faith in ourselves,” said first baseman Kevin Youkilis(notes), who went 3 for 4 with three RBIs Sunday. “It’s good to get a win opening night. It’s good for the city. It’s good for the fans. It’s good for the players. It’s good for everyone. … But it’s still just one game.”
Jon Lester(notes) looks to help the Red Sox start 2-0 for the first time since 1999. The left-hander went 15-8 with a 3.41 ERA while finishing third in the AL with a career-high 225 strikeouts. He was superb in his final six home starts, winning four while posting a 1.93 ERA.
Lester is 3-1 with a 3.88 ERA in eight starts against the Yankees.