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Posada makes a bad situation worse

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The relationship between the New York Yankees - specifically general manager Brian Cashman - and Jorge Posada began to sour this past winter when they informed him that he would no longer be the team's catcher.

That turn for the worse, though, was taken to a whole new level on Saturday when Posada asked out of the lineup for his team's contest with the Boston Red Sox shortly after learning he would be dropped to ninth in the lineup.

Now it's no secret that Posada is struggling, hitting a mere .165 with zero hits in 24 at-bats against left-handers. He is the first to admit that he is nowhere near where he wants to be, and indicated as such before Saturday's contest, as well as last week when he thanked manager Joe Girardi for sticking with him in spite of his troubles.

A demotion was probably in order, but to do it on a night of a nationally televised game, against the Red Sox no less ... I'm sorry but Posada deserved better than that. This is a guy who was an integral member on four World Series championships, while playing through numerous injuries. Not to mention he is a borderline Hall of Famer and one of the "Core Four" that the team loves to trump every second it gets a chance to.


This whole brouhaha could have been avoided had Jorge Posada just stepped up to the mic after the game and apologized.
Are Jorge Posada's struggles at the plate the reason the Yankees have lost four in a row and eight of their last 11. Has anyone seen Nick Swisher lately? Or Alex Rodriguez for that matter? Find me a batter in the Yankee lineup who is hitting. If you think Swisher has had better at-bats than Posada over the last couple of weeks you need to have your head examined.

Now the way Posada handled the situation is an entirely different story.

Girardi told Posada the news before the game himself and he seemingly accepted it.

"I put myself in this spot," Posada said when meeting with reporters before the game. "It's not like I want to hit ninth, and it's not like I want to hit .100-and-whatever I'm hitting. It's just a matter of really coming out of it."

So, what happened from that initial meeting with the manager, then his interview with the press that led to Posada asking Girardi to take him out of the lineup?

Cashman did an interview during the game and made a point of stating that Posada's absence from the lineup was not injury related. He then reiterated that in impromptu press conference in the press box at Yankee Stadium.

Shortly after that Posada's wife tweeted that Jorge was not playing because of a back issue. Perhaps a move to fight the Yankees, who wasted no time in going to Commissioner Bud Selig to see what kind of action they could take against Posada.

After the game Girardi mentioned that Posada had asked out, saying he needed time to clear his head and at no time mentioned anything about a back injury or feeling insulted.

"Players go through difficult times in this game," Girardi said. "We all do. Sometimes we need days to clear our head and just to take a deep breath. I've been there. I've been through struggles. And this season has been a struggle for Jorge. It has been. He has tried to fight through it and today he just felt like he needed a day."

Posada, though, after the game pointed to the back as the reason for him not wanting to play. Although, he also said he felt disrespected without going into detail.

The whole situation was unclear. However, this much was clear: Posada's ire seemed to be in the direction of Cashman, as he was clearly put off by his antics during the game.

"I don't know why he made a statement during the game, in the middle of the game," Posada said. "I don't understand that. That's the way he works now."

This whole brouhaha could have been avoided had Posada just stepped up to the mic after the game and apologized, saying he overreacted. I think a lot of people would have accepted that from a veteran player who has been known at times to lose his head. Instead, he chose to play the injury card, making this a whole ordeal lot bigger than it needs to be.

So where do the Yankees go from here?

A lot will depend on Posada. Perhaps he shows up on Sunday and does just that and offers up a mea culpa. Or, maybe he refuses to play again, at which point the Yankees could place him on the restricted list and leave him there for as long as they see fit.

The Yanks have also looked into docking Posada two-games' worth of pay. I doubt they would release him, but this is a whole new Yankee regime. Business trumps all, and if they can find a way to unload Posada without having to pay him, believe me they will.

And if you think Posada is going to just retire think again. He has 13.1 million reasons to play this thing out.

I think the bigger question is how the rest of the team handles this. Say what you want about Derek Jeter being the captain, Posada is and has always been the emotional leader of that team. Plus, I'm quite certain Posada has more friends in that clubhouse than Girardi.

And speaking of Jeter, you don't think he is paying attention to all this do you? Is this a sign of things to come for him at some point over the next two and a half years? You wouldn't think so, but then you remember what went on with him and the organization this past winter.

Tom Cruise's character in the movie Cocktail said, "Everything ends badly, unless it wouldn't end." That line is apparently playing itself out in the Bronx.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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