New York Yankees starting pitcher Javier Vazquez readies a pitch...

New York Yankees starting pitcher Javier Vazquez readies a pitch against the Texas Rangers. (Sept. 10, 2010) Credit: MCT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Javier Vazquez had an idea it was coming and Joe Girardi made it official Wednesday.

With Andy Pettitte officially announced as Sunday's starter, the righthander is headed to the Yankees' bullpen, where he's likely to remain the rest of the season.

A.J. Burnett, who flew ahead of the team, will start Friday night in Baltimore and will be followed by CC Sabathia on Saturday. Girardi said Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes will start Monday and Tuesday, respectively, against the Rays.

"Whatever they want me to do, I'll do," Vazquez, 10-9 with a 5.09 ERA this season, said last night. "I'm disappointed, obviously, but Andy's coming back. We need him here and I'm glad he's back."

Pettitte, 11-2 with a 2.88 ERA, last started July 18 and was placed on the disabled list the next day. Girardi said the plan is for Pettitte to throw no more than 90 pitches.

Girardi understands Vazquez's disappointment but wants him to stay ready if for whatever reason Pettitte can't pitch Sunday.

"He wants to pitch," Girardi said. "But I told him we expect Andy to start but . . . I told him to be prepared."

Swish, Gardy progressing

Nick Swisher, who received a cortisone shot Tuesday, said Wednesday he felt as good as he has since fouling a ball off his left knee Aug. 24 in Toronto.

"Everything's on track," he said, though he couldn't give a timetable for returning.

Brett Gardner received a cortisone shot in his right wrist Monday and said while "I feel I could swing," Girardi decided with Thursday being an off day, the extra day would be a benefit.

Talk time

When reporters were allowed into the clubhouse 3½ hours before the game, Girardi was meeting with Burnett in his office, door closed. "Just talk," Girardi said. "I think it's important that you have relationships with your players. Know what they're thinking. You talk about pitching, talk about a lot of different things."

Extra bases

The Yankees called up LHP Royce Ring, giving Girardi another lefthanded option to go with Boone Logan. Ring went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 52 appearances with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. OF Chad Huffman was designated for assignment . . . Girardi isn't thinking ahead to lining up his postseason rotation. "I won't do that until I know exactly that we're in the playoffs. I'm not a speculator." . . . The Yankee announced Monument Park will be closed Monday, when a monument honoring George Steinbrenner, who died July 13, will be unveiled before the game.

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