Burnett will start second game of season

Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett throws during spring training

Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett throws during spring training at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. (Feb. 17, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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TAMPA, Fla. -- A.J. Burnett has been chosen to start the second game of the season over Phil Hughes, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Saturday.

"It's what we brought A.J. here to do. Bottom line," Girardi said. "In 2009, he was very important for us. Playoffs. World Series. You name it. He struggled last year, but we believe he's going to be back."

Burnett, who was 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA last season, has a 2.77 ERA after four exhibition starts.

"It just shows that they have faith in what they brought me here to do," he said. "Either way, just give me the ball."

Hughes will start game No. 3. Both are against Detroit.

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Good news for relievers

Three injured relievers made positive strides Saturday, leading general manager Brian Cashman to say, "Right now we still fully expect everyone to be ready by Opening Day."

Boone Logan, who had been expected to miss four to five days with back spasms, instead is penciled in to pitch today. Joba Chamberlain, out since March 11 because of an oblique strain, threw a bullpen session and should be ready to appear in a game. Pedro Feliciano, out since March 9 with left triceps soreness, threw a bullpen session at 80 percent and will try another in a few days.