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Burnett or Hughes could lose starting role with Yankees

Yankees Burnett throws in the first inning against the White Sox during their MLB American League baseball game in Chicago
Yankees Burnett throws in the first inning against the White Sox during their MLB American League baseball game in Chicago

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Yankees have decided six pitchers in their starting rotation is one too many, manager Joe Girardi said on Thursday.

"We feel we need to get it down to a five-man rotation and go with it," Girardi told Major League Baseball's website (www.mlb.com).

The decision could leave either A.J. Burnett or Phil Hughes in a reduced role.

Burnett has not won a game in seven starts since late June, going 0-3 with a hefty 6.0 earned run average (ERA). The right-hander (8-9 overall) gave up four runs in one inning on Tuesday in an eventual loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Hughes, another right-hander, is 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA in six games, five of them starts, since returning from the disabled list in July. He won 18 games in 2010 but is 2-4 this season.

There is only one spot open in a five-man rotation because the previous odd-man out, Ivan Nova, apparently has pitched well enough recently to earn a starting spot with CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.

Nova is unbeaten in three starts since coming back to the big leagues in late July.

He won a starting job in spring training and went 8-4 before being demoted to the minor leagues. He is 11-4 for the season.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)

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