Sweeny Says: Jorge Posada In Transition
» More Columns
Jorge Posada got into a game this spring as a first baseman before he got into a game as a catcher. That should tell you all you need to know about where Posada fits in this year and whether or not he’ll do any catching for the Yanks in 2011.
Posada was told early in the off-season that he was not going to be in the plans as an everyday catcher anymore, and although he might seem to be the kind of guy who would not be very accepting of the move to DH, Joe Girardi said this week that after an initial bit of uneasiness Posada has handled it very well…
Posada indicated at times in the winter that he still wanted to catch some, but he doesn’t seem to be the least bit unclear about his role heading into the season:
Posada is trying to get used to his routine as DH, but that’s not easy to do in spring training where the ballparks are not equipped with the same amenities as they are in the majors. Posada will also have to get used to the changing conditions once the season starts, trying to stay loose on a cold 50-degree night.
But the biggest obstacle for Posada here is probably the mental hurdle he has to get over. Posada told me a few weeks ago that as a catcher he could go 0-for-4 and still feel as if he contributed to a win if the pitchers did well. As DH a win will still be a win, but it will be hard to go home and sleep off an 0-for-4 knowing he didn’t do the only thing he’s being asked to do.
But the transition is one Posada has accepted. If he wants to play beyond this year, the final year of his 4-year, $52 million dollar contract, Posada needs to stay healthy and show he can still hit. And that is more likely to happen if he’s not taking foul tips off his noggin and getting run over by baserunners every night.
As for first base, his start Thursday in Clearwater wasn’t completely foreign to him. Posada has actually started 15 games there in his career and has played a total of 136 innings there in the regular season. But it still doesn’t mean he was totally comfortable when he took the field:
With Mark Teixeira anchored at first base for 150 games or more, and capable backups like Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez (yes, I think he’ll make the team), it is unlikely we will see very much of Jorge Posada at first base this year. But it doesn’t hurt to get some work in here in Florida where the wins and losses don’t count.