But after Friday night's rainout, Girardi will have to use four starters, and his probable fourth one isn't a name likely to draw a warm reaction from fans.
Latest Yankees stories
At least, not those cheering for the Yankees.
But with the rainout, that "possibility'' could be taking place one series earlier. Burnett -- 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA -- who was originally to pitch out of the bullpen, has a good chance to start Game 4 on Tuesday. Freddy Garcia, whom Girardi picked over Burnett as a starter in the series, is scheduled to get the ball for Game 2 Sunday.
"It was a tough decision between him and Freddy, it really was,'' Girardi said before the rainout.
It appears now that he has both. Regarding Burnett, Girardi said Friday afternoon, "If I didn't have confidence in him, he wouldn't be on the roster.''
There were no big surprises on the 25-man ALDS roster the Yankees released Friday morning. As expected, they went with 11 pitchers, including Burnett and Phil Hughes in the bullpen. Bartolo Colon was left off but will continue to throw; there's the outside possibility he could be needed in this series, in the event of injury, or in the next one. The Yankees went with one lefthanded reliever, Boone Logan.
Because of the slew of righthanded starters Detroit will throw, Jorge Posada got the nod as the designated hitter over rookie Jesus Montero, who is on the roster as a pinch hitter and, if necessary, catcher behind Russell Martin. Rookie catcher Austin Romine was left off.
Posada batted .235 this season but hit .269 with a .348 on-base percentage against righties and hit all 14 of his home runs against them.
"Experience and he's had some success against some of these righthanders,'' Girardi said of Posada, who came in 6-for-20 (.300) against Game 1 starter Justin Verlander. "He's been in these games so many times . . . His experience plays a role in this and what he's done in the past.''