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The Yankees' bullpen, Daniel Herrera and the September slumber

At the Yankees' victory over Toronto, I wrote about the Yankees' bullpen, which was counted on to be excellent and has lived up to those expectations, albeit with some different names than originally anticipated.

--Joe Girardi stayed mum about his plans for the team's starting rotation, regarding whether A.J. Burnett or Phil Hughes gets thrown overboard. Girardi did say, however, that the club would not go another round with six starters.

To which I say, why not? Based on the way Burnett and Hughes pitched in Boston, I can't see the Yankees giving up on Burnett (because he pitched well). While relegating Hughes (who didn't pitch very well) to the bullpen would be a mistake.

Looking ahead for a moment to the winter, this should be a fascinating winter for the Yankees in which they focus almost exclusively on their pitching. In theory, only Ivan Nova is a lock for next year's starting rotation. Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and CC Sabathia can be free agents, and Burnett and Hughes are potential trade candidates.

Bringing back Sabathia figures to be the easiest decision, and it's going to be quite painful financially.

--Jesus Montero tallied his first major-league hit. 

--Mark Teixeira says he'll play today, after missing games yesterday and Friday.

--Alex Rodriguez looked all right, in his first game back after a six-game rest with a left thumb injury.

--When Francisco Cervelli homered in the second inning yesterday, everyone in the press box followed his trot around the bases very carefully, and I bet everyone on the Yankees did, too. Cervelli didn't clap this time. His comments on the matter are interesting.

Good for him to undertand that reputation matters. It's not like he has great job security with the Yankees, so there's no need to burn bridges elsewhere.

--The Mets lost a tough one in Washington, with Bobby Parnell blowing the save in the ninth inning after the club fought back from a 5-0 deficit. David Lennon's story focuses on Daniel Herrera, the new acquisition from the Francisco Rodriguez trade.

--Johan Santana started his 30-day rehab clock for the second time this season, as he pitched for Class A St. Lucie. It would be nice for Santana and the Mets if the lefty made a token appearance at Citi Field this year, but the greater question remains: Post-surgery, what kind of pitcher can he be? What percentage of the old Santana can he provide at any point in the future? He has two years left on his contract after this season.

--Signs are good, Lennon writes, that Ike Davis can rehabilitate his left ankle without needing surgery.

--In my Sunday Insider, I addressed an issue that we've been discussing here: MLB's September slumber, featuring about one-half of a decent pennant race (the AL West). There also are items on the Mets and David Einhorn and the Red Sox's starting rotation.

--Have a great day.


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