Performance has proved him right, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to make the same difficult decision he faced in Game 2 of the division series, benching veteran C Jorge Posada on Saturday to continue pairing C Jose Molina with starter A.J. Burnett.
"It's tough taking Jorge out of the lineup," Girardi said. "You look at what Jorge has done in his three starts and the way our pitchers have thrown the baseball and the way he's swung the bat. It's tough to take him out of the lineup. But that combination worked well in Round 1, and I just thought I'd stay with it."
Burnett said he is more comfortable and in a better rhythm when throwing to Molina, who has now caught his past eight starts. Posada hasn't been particularly pleased but has accepted it without much complaint.
Girardi says that is another example of the team-first attitude in the Yankees clubhouse.
"One of the things we talked about from Day 1 when we came into spring training was to get to where we want, sometimes you have to make some sacrifices," Girardi said. "And our players have done that all year long."
Girardi remained consistent in his thinking, keeping Posada on the bench - and thus available for pinch-hit duty - by sticking with Hideki Matsui at DH.
FACEBOOK: Told that Girardi referred to him the other day as "the face" of the Angels franchise, manager Mike Scioscia deadpanned: "That's an ugly look."
He went on to say he didn't deserve such a title, that the Angels' success is the result of many contributors, from owner Arte Moreno on down, and that if there was to be a face, "I think you're probably going to look to a player - to a player that's contributed a lot over the years, whether it's, you know, Timmy Salmon or Vlad Guerrero or Garret Anderson or John Lackey, or Torii Hunter now. I think those guys are the guys on the field that are going - you're going to win or lose with, and that's where the focus should be."
PITCHING IN: The Yankees' plan was to use LHP CC Sabathia in Games 1, 4 and 7, and Girardi said the big lefty came through Friday's 113-pitch performance in fine shape to do so, though a final decision won't be made until today or Monday.
"Physically I think he's very good," Girardi said. "I don't think we really pushed him too far (Friday). I think when you start to get to 120, above 120, you start to push a guy."
If Sabathia doesn't start Game 4, former Ray Chad Gaudin appears likely.
SINGER SORRY: Irish tenor Ronan Tynan said he's sorry for making an anti-Semitic remark and hopes for another chance to sing his noted rendition of God Bless America at Yankee Stadium.
"This is my mea culpa," he told the Associated Press.
A day after the Yankees dropped their tradition of having him perform the song during the seventh-inning stretch of postseason games, Tynan said he apologized to the woman who was the subject of his remark.
MISCELLANY: Game-time temperature was 47 degrees, two degrees warmer than Friday. ... Heaters were installed in both dugouts prior to Saturday's game. ... Tampa's Tino Martinez threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Yankees SS Derek Jeter's third-inning homer gave him 19 in the postseason, moving him past Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson for third place on the all-time list.
Information from other news organizations was used in this report.