Jorge Posada, the New York Yankees newly appointed DH has been pretty quiet this off-season regarding his status on the team. The veteran backstop is set to report to spring training in a couple of weeks but won't be leaving his catcher's mitt and chest protector behind. All reports that his days behind the plate are through are premature according to Posada.
"I'll catch. I'll catch. I'll catch this year," the Core Four charter member said. "I'll DH and then they're going to want me to catch one of those days. I'm keeping an open mind. I would love to catch. I'm training like I always do and if I have to catch I'll catch," said Posada.
The 39 year-old Posada is in the final year of his contract and was informed by GM Brian Cashman that he should expect to be used as the regular designated hitter and "emergency catcher."
Posada is coming off an injury-plagued season and he batted .248 with 18 home runs and 57 RBI's. He had surgery on his left knee in November but insists the joint is "one-hundred percent."
It has been a contentious off-season for members of the Yankees Core Four. First, there was the public contract squabble with the face of the Yankees, Derek Jeter. It led to the Yankee captain criticizing Cashman for making the shortstop look like the bad guy. Then last week, Cashman stated that Jeter will probably finish his storied pinstripe career in centerfield. Cashman later recanted those words.
Then there was pitcher Andy Pettitte who was put out to pasture when the Yankees thought they had lassoed Cliff Lee. Now Lee is a Phillie and Pettitte is still unsigned and considering retirement.
Now comes the insensitive handling of the prideful Posada. Cashman has to work on his public relations skills, especially with members of that exclusive club. Of the four popular players, only closer Mariano Rivera went through this winter unscathed.
At first, it seemed like Posada accepted his demotion from behind the plate to just batting from the right side of it like a good soldier, but now it sounds like he won't make the move too quietly.
"I can't complain. I always like to catch. I'm used to catching, but if they want me to DH to help out the team, you have to do that," said Posada.
Posada understands that you can't play forever. "We're getting old, " he confessed. "It's tough, it's a business. But we understand it."
Even if the nagging bumps and bruises from over a decade of errant balls, collisions and crouching won't keep Posada from getting behind home plate, management probably will.
Posada isn't taking the role of designated hitter lightly. He is working with hitting coach Kevin Long for three days this week and said, "I'm coming to spring training as a DH. I don't know if I'm going to catch in spring training. I have no idea, to tell you the truth."
While the new DH works on his hitting, Posada won't be putting his catching gear in storage anytime soon. "I have to keep it broken in, just in case," he said.