Posada gets his swings as Yanks’ new DH
The biggest concern the Yankees had with moving Jorge Posada to the designated hitter role was having him find a rhythm that worked for him, doing something to occupy his mind between at-bats instead of stewing and focusing on the last plate appearance.
All spring, Posada said that preparation process would be easier for him once the Yankees got home to New York, with a bevy of tools at his disposal just up the clubhouse runway. Thus far, the experiment is working fine. Posada slugged a couple of homers off the Tigers’ Max Scherzer on Sunday and has, by all accounts, embraced his new role.
“At the end of the day, it’s just about four at-bats and being prepared for those four at-bats,” Posada said. “No matter what, it’s putting the at-bat behind you and looking forward to the next one. … It’s staying positive, staying within yourself, and looking forward to that next at-bat. You stay loose for it.”
The Yankees have no plans to move Posada back behind the plate this season – if anything, he is the third catcher, to be used only in an extreme emergency. Joe Girardi acknowledged that he is concerned about the number of concussions Posada has suffered in his career and the potential long-term impact they may have.
A telling moment came late in Spring Training, when Girardi grudgingly acknowledged he’d probably use Posada behind the plate before putting utilityman Eduardo Nunez back there. Clearly, the likes of Gustavo Molina, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine were light years ahead on the depth chart. You got the sense that Girardi would rather strap the shin guards on himself and catch a few innings than run the risk of hurting Posada.
Posada said he has grown to accept his situation and complimented the work of new catcher Russell Martin, who said that Posada has helped speed his knowledge of the pitching staff.
“I’m watching the game, talking to Russell and stuff,” Posada said. “Obviously I’m in his corner. I’m going to try to help him out. He’s got a pretty good idea of what to do back there. He’s done a good job with the bat and he looks pretty good behind the plate.”