Orlando Hernandez, and not Roger Clemens, will start Game 1 of the AL playoffs for the Yankees.
Andy Pettitte will pitch Game 2, followed by Roger Clemens in Game 3 on the road. David Cone will start the fourth game, if necessary.
Yankees Manager Joe Torre announced his rotation for the best-of-five first-round series before yesterday's game against the Devil Rays.
Torre said there was no one reason that he picked "El Duque" over Clemens, a five-time Cy Young Award winner. He called Hernandez the Yankees' most consistent starter this season.
"They all can't pitch on one day," Torre said. "I could have put the names into a hat."
Clemens was expected to become the staff ace after he was acquired for David Wells in a four-player trade with the Blue Jays during spring training. But Clemens has struggled, going 14-10 with a 4.60 earned run average.
Asked if he were disappointed at not starting the opener, Clemens said: "No, not at all.
"It could have gone either way. We have the luxury of having four guys that can be a Number One guy at any time. We're all excited for him."
"I don't think Joe could go wrong," Cone said. "How many teams have Roger Clemens and me in Games 3 and 4?"
It's still uncertain whether the World Series champions will face the Indians or Rangers when the playoffs begin Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Also unknown was whether Hideki Irabu, who went 11-7 with a 4.89 ERA as the Yankees' No. 5 starter, will be included on the postseason roster. Torre said he will release the 25-man squad Monday.
PINK SLIPS FOR BLUE JAYS: The Blue Jays announced that five coaches will not return to the team next season.
First-base coach Lloyd Moseby, bench coach Jim Lett, pitching coach Mel Queen, hitting coach Gary Matthews and bullpen coach Marty Pevey will be replaced and offered other positions within Toronto's organization, the club said.
In addition, the Blue Jays will pick up the option for C Darrin Fletcher for next season. Fletcher, who turns 33 today, is batting .295 with a career-high 119 hits, 18 home runs and 80 RBI.