The veteran Yankee catcher-turned-DH’s ask out of the lineup on Saturday did little to detract from the fact that the Bombers got swept by the Red Sox in a three-game set over the weekend. Tampa Bay now leads the AL East, and New York, by two games with Boston one game behind.
Jorge Posada’s decline this season has been painful to watch and even worse for a proud athlete to endure. His average has hovered in the mid-.100s and for the guy who was integral to every pitch thrown by a Yankee most days of the season, it’s impossible to imagine what the move to DH and then, batting ninth according to Saturday’s lineup card, could possibly be doing to his psyche.
After Posada apologized to Joe Girardi and the team on Sunday, the skipper used him to pinch hit against Boston. Posada drew a walk, and was given a standing ovation by the Yankees faithful. Who says that Bombers fans don’t have any heart?
When Posada came up to the Yankees and started seeing regular playing time in 1997 I thought he was soft. He didn’t block the plate and he seemed whiny. Turns out he had broken his leg in the minors. Fair enough. But Posada matured to the point where he won the starting job from his now manager. He handled some pretty hot-headed (read: crazy) pitchers in his day and now he sits on the bench and looks downright sad.
One would think that between Tony Pena and Joe Girardi they could help with Posada’s transition. Maybe work him into the coaching staff a bit and let him stay active (mentally at least) between at-bats and starts, so he doesn’t feel like he’s a 4-time pinch hitter?
He’s 39, which in baseball years is ancient, especially for a catcher who takes a beating every time he puts on the uniform. If someone offered retirement to most people just shy of 40, they would jump at it, but no professional athlete worth his or her salt ever wants to retire. They go kicking and screaming, as they should, and sometimes they even come back to kick and scream a few more times. Their total identities are tied up in what they do. Posada is on the verge of losing who he is.
Posada wanted to end his career a Yankee. That is why he stayed for one last season. At this rate, he might not make it until October.
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Written by Stephanie Geosits