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Yankees' Girardi expects Burnett to rebound

A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees

A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees reacts after giving up a three-run home run to Bengie Molina of the Texas Rangers in the top of the sixth inning in Game Four of the ALCS. (Oct. 19, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Yankees general manager Brian Cashman isn't the only one who has been talking to A.J. Burnett this offseason.

"A.J. and I have talked a lot," Joe Girardi said Wednesday.

Burnett comes off the worst season of his career (10-15, 5.26 ERA). Cashman visited Burnett in mid-November, and Girardi said the righthander already is preparing to make things right, or at least better, in 2011.

"A.J. reached out to Larry Rothschild, and they're going to work on some things before spring training even starts," Girardi said "For A.J., it was a tough year last year. But I believe he's going to have a good year. He's going to bounce back this year and be the pitcher that we expected."

Surgery for Gardner

Brett Gardner had inflamed tissue removed from his right wrist Wednesday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Stitches will be removed in a week, and Gardner, who had problems with the wrist throughout the season's second half, is expected to be fully recovered by the start of spring training.

"I think he played hurt a lot with that wrist," Girardi said. "Last year, he fought through it. I think it affected him some."

Keeping watch on CC

Girardi said he's not concerned about the workload of CC Sabathia, who has been rehabbing since arthroscopic surgery Oct. 29 for a torn meniscus in his right knee. But the manager will limit the lefthander in some aspects next spring.

"We'll watch him in spring training and how that knee's doing," Girardi said. "I don't anticipate it being a problem. It was a clean-up more than anything else. But it is something I'll keep my eye on. You might see him stay out of running drills. We've got to keep him healthy."

No sure thing

The Yankees hope Jesus Montero is ready to be the starting catcher, but Girardi's message to Jorge Posada is to prepare as if he'll be the starter.

"We believe he's going to be a very good player," Girardi said of Montero. "He's going to have to come into spring training and earn the job as a catcher. That is the bottom line.

"Is he ready? We'll have a much better idea as we watch him go through spring training."

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