Saturday, May 14, 2011

Posada Bail Out Overshadows Yankees' Tumble

The Yankees lost their fourth straight game Saturday evening and fourth in five meetings with the Boston Red Sox this year, but during and after the game all anyone was talking about was Jorge Posada. That's because a little over a half hour before game time, the Yankees DH asked out of Joe Girardi's lineup.

Scheduled to bat ninth for the first time in exactly 12 years to the day, Posada approached Girardi in his office and told him he "needed a day". The Yankees manager relayed the information to the media in his post-game press conference and stated that Posada's statement was the extent of the conversation. There was no mention of any injury and Girardi did not ask Posada for the reason why he wanted out.

The press peppered Girardi with questions, but according to Girardi there was no more information to give. He said some days "Guys just need a mental break" and as a former player, he empthathized and was sensitive to his players' needs. Girardi did seem peturbed by the timing of Posada's request, as it necessitated a lineup change and all things associated with it.

As fans, we first learned of the Posada situation in the middle of the game. For whatever reason, GM Brian Cashman made himself available to FoxSports' Ken Rosenthal as play was taking place. Cashman informed Rosenthal that Posada had asked out of the lineup, that the request was not injury-related, and he had nothing further to add other than Posada had requested to speak with the media after the game.

Initial speculation was that possibly Posada, who has struggled all season and wasn't happy about his catching duties being taken away, might retire. But Rosenthal and ESPN's Buster Olney scuttled that idea and reported that the Yankees had contacted the commissioner's office to gather data on possibly voiding Posada's contract if things came down to that.

To complicate matters further, Laura Posada tweeted and posted on Facebook that her husband was suffering from back stiffness and that is why he couldn't make it a go on Saturday. After the game, reporters besieged Posada, who said that his back had stiffened up taking grounders at first base and he had received some treatment from the team chiropractor. However when pressed as to why he did not tell Girardi about the back issue, Posada replied, "...because it wasn't serious."

Posada had talked to reporters earlier in the day and told them that hitting ninth was not an issue and he had put himself there by not hitting all season. However, post game Posada repeated the mantra, "I hope we can just get past this and move forward", indicating there was more to what was going on than just a minor back issue. When pressed, Posada also confirmed he had felt disrespected by the organization in the manner that he was removed as the team's primary catcher. He was also upset by Cashman's in-game announcement and said, "That's the way he (Cashman) does things now."

Posada has been in the organization long enough and has done enough for the Yankees to deserve a mulligan in this situation, but if he truly backed out because of being moved down in the order, he will most certainly have done damage to his Yankees' legacy.

Meanwhile, Josh Beckett dominated the Yankees' lethargic lineup and CC Sabathia, after a sharp start, turned in another mediocre performance. Sabathia dominated Adrian Gonzalez his first three times up, but the Red Sox slugger smashed a three-run home run to put the game out of reach 6-0.

As usual, someone from the Red Sox just had to chime in on the Posada situation as well. David Ortiz told WEEI,“You want to know what I think? They’re doing that guy wrong. They’re doing him wrong,” said Ortiz. “You know why? That guy, he is legendary right there in that organization. And dude, DH-ing sucks. DH-ing is not easy.

“From what I heard, they told him from the very beginning that he’s not even going to catch bullpens. That straight up will start messing with your head. And you’re going to tell me that Posada can’t catch a game out there? Come on, man.”

It's a dark time in the Bronx.

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