NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — By the end of Thursday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, Joe Girardi will be able to say he had one last good, hard look at all his starters.

After that, the Yankees’ manager will try to decide who to cut from his six-man rotation.

“I’m not just gonna base it on one outing. I don’t think that’s fair to do to pitchers,” Girardi said on Sunday. “But the bottom line is that we need to pitch well. If we’re going to win this division we have to pitch better and right now we’ve run into a little bump.”

CC Sabathia is a lock. Ivan Nova appears to have secured a starting job. Phil Hughes’ appearances have been mostly positive since coming back from a dead arm issue.

Bartolo Colon’s up-and-down season could start trending north again, if Sunday afternoon’s losing effort is any indication. Freddy Garcia, scheduled to start against the Orioles on Monday night, was enjoying a 6-2 stretch from June 12-August 7 until he landed on the DL.

That brings us to A.J. Burnett.

Most Yankees fans think — and hope — the erratic righty will be the one demoted.

Burnett yielded nine runs over five innings Friday night. The Yankees lost to Baltimore 12-5 despite hitting three home runs. The right-hander walked two and threw three wild pitches in his second straight horrid performance.

“(Jim Palmer) told me to relax. He said in the past I looked more relaxed,” Burnett told the New York Post after a visit from the Orioles Hall of Famer. “He said to check my finger pressure because if the grip on the ball is tight, you aren’t as smooth. He also talked about breathing techniques, trying to hear your heartbeat. He said to relax and have fun.”

Girardi admitted Burnett has something to prove on Thursday against the Red Sox.

“We need him to pitch better, that’s the bottom line,” said Girardi. “So yeah, Thursday or whatever his day is, is a big start.”

In his previous outing, Burnett cursed as he left the mound in the second inning of a 9-4 loss to Minnesota. He has given up 16 runs in his last two starts.

Garcia (10-7, 3.16 ERA) pitched to a 2.53 ERA from June 12-Aug. 7, his final start before slicing through part of his right index finger in a kitchen mishap. No one in the Yankees’ rotation has been that effective over the past 10 weeks, and they’ve certainly missed Garcia while he’s been out.

New York’s starters had a 3.87 ERA in the team’s first 25 games after the All-Star break, but in the 18 games since Garcia’s been on the DL, they have a 5.87 ERA.

Who should the Yankees demote? Be heard in the comments below…

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