Jorge Posada would like to play another season; he's just not sure someone will give him the chance.
The Yankees' longtime catcher-turned-designated hitter has struggled most of the year, even causing a stir by taking himself out of the lineup at one point. He had recently lost his job as the regular DH, but Posada made a spot start Saturday at home against Tampa Bay and hit a grand slam while driving in six runs.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he planned to start Posada on Sunday, but the series finale against the Rays was rained out. So he put Posada in the eighth spot in the order Monday night against Kansas City, where he went 1 for 2 with a walk in the Yankees' 7-4 victory.
“The week that he kind of had off he continued to do his work, and his cage work, and that's what it is,” Girardi said, referring to the six days between when he benched Posada and his game against Tampa Bay.
“Jorge has pride in his performance and wants to be a big contributor,” Girardi added.
Posada is batting .237 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs, though most of the damage to those numbers came during an early season slump. He's batting over .300 in 30 starts since the first week of June, despite a 1-for-13 slump that resulted in Girardi giving him an extended rest.
Girardi wanted to use the DH spot to find at-bats for Eric Chavez and give veterans like Derek Jeter some time off. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez could also need some extra time as designated hitter when he returns from knee surgery, which the Yankees are tentatively planning for the series opener Thursday at Minnesota.
That means less playing time for Posada, who turns 40 on Wednesday.
“You put yourself in the situation and hopefully you try to do everything possible to keep in the lineup, and I have to look at it like that now,” Posada said. “I don't know. It's just one of those things.”
Posada, a career .274 hitter, is in the final year of a US$52.4 million, four-year contract.
“It's tough for me to tell you exactly what I'm going to do, to tell you the truth,” Posada said, when asked about playing next season. “I really won't know until the season is over and I get home, and see what happens in the off-season. I'll work out and stuff. I haven't really thought about it, but I still think that I will (play) right now.”
Posada said he isn't sure he'll be back with the Yankees, where he's played his entire career, or even what position he might play. The five-time all-star said he could still catch if given the chance to work behind the plate in spring training, and he can also play first base in addition to designated hitter.
“The great athletes love challenges,” Girardi said, “and sometimes you get a challenge in a sense like that, guys want to show you. Jorge wants to play every day, and I respect that, I love that. Whatever it takes for him to be productive, I'll take it, because it allows me to do some things.”
In other news, Girardi said right-hander Freddy Garcia plans to throw a bullpen session Tuesday after slicing his finger in a kitchen mishap. Ivan Nova will start Tuesday night and Bartolo Colon in the series finale against the Royals, with the starter Thursday dependent upon how Garcia looks in his bullpen session.
“You have to make sure it's healed, so we don't tear it open. That's the thing: You don't want to go backwards,” Girardi said. “We'll see if it's better tomorrow, and if it's not better tomorrow we'll try for the next day.”
Rodriguez was travelling Monday to join triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, where he is scheduled to make at least two rehab starts. A-Rod hasn't played with New York since July 7 while recovering from knee surgery.
“Conceivably, yeah,” Girardi said of getting him back Thursday. “We'll see how he does these next two days.”