Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett throws against the Mariners in...

Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett throws against the Mariners in the first inning. (May 27, 2011) Credit: AP

A.J. Burnett seems to have put his awful 2010 behind him.

He and the Yankees will find out Wednesday night if he can do the same with his struggles against the Red Sox, which date to before last season.

Burnett is winless in his last eight overall starts against the Red Sox, including seven since joining the Yankees for the 2009 season, going 0-3 with a 7.59 ERA in the stretch.

Before 2009, Burnett was 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA in three career starts at Fenway Park, a reason the Yankees signed him to a five-year, $82.5-million deal.

"Sometimes you just pitch well against a team and you match up well and then sometimes you struggle," Joe Girardi said before the game. "I don't think there's any rhyme or reason. I know when A.J.'s stuff is on and he's throwing the pitches he wants and where he wants, he's going to be tough against anybody."

Burnett, 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA last season, is 6-3, with a 3.86 ERA. He has not faced Boston this season.

Girardi said Burnett is a different pitcher this year and is not worried about the kind of collapse he experienced in 2010.

"His first four innings weren't real sharp and then he found it, fifth, sixth and seventh and that's not something he necessarily did last year," Girardi said. "When he struggled, he usually struggled. He's gotten out of jams and I've just seen a different guy."


Papelbon disciplined

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended three games for bumping plate umpire Tony Randazzo on Saturday. The suspension was to begin Tuesday night but Papelbon is appealing.


DH day for Derek

Even with Monday off, Girardi had Derek Jeter at DH, replaced at short by Eduardo Nuñez. "I wasn't going to DH Nuñez because he's fresh all the time," Girardi said. "I just felt it was a way to keep [Jeter] fresh. "We came off a long road trip, he played every day."


No problem


The Yankees' bullpen hasn't, to this point, felt the loss of setup man Rafael Soriano.Since Soriano went on the disabled list May 17, David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain, in seven appearances each, have not allowed an earned run. Chamberlain has been serving as the primary setup man in the eighth, with Robertson usually throwing the seventh.

"They've both done an outstanding job in Soriano's absence, bridging that gap to Mariano [Rivera]," Girardi said. "I've very pleased with what they've both done."

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