Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Game 53: Mean Old World

When an MRI determined that Jorge Posada had a hairline fracture back on May 19th, the Yankees' catcher wasn't buying the three to four week timetable offered by the Yankees' doctors.
"It's not going to take that long," said Posada, who wore a protective walking boot on his right foot. "They can say whatever they're going to say. I'll be here before that."
I personally rolled my eyes at this a bit, but as it turns out, Jorge was right. Here we are two weeks later and makes his triumphant return to the lineup. We don't yet know who he is replacing on the roster because the Yanks are waiting until after batting practice to make a move. [Update: It's Miranda]

At the present time, Jorge is only fit to DH since getting down in the catcher's crouch could potentially aggravate the stress fracture that put him on the DL in the first place. However, as our buddy Joe Pawlikowski pointed out over at FanGraphs the other day, Jorge is one of the few catchers in the game who is fit to occupy the role of designated hitter. He's appeared in fewer than half of the Yankees' games this year but has the same OPS+ (177) as Robinson Cano does in those 101 plate appearances.

When the Yankees signed Posada to that four year, $52M contract in November of 2007, they surely knew that he was only going to play a limited amount of games behind the plate. However, he's played sparingly in general, not just behind the dish. Jorge missed almost one-third of the 2008 season, played in just 111 games last year and has already missed a good portion of this season with three different injuries, all of which may have stemmed from the same single pitch.

Jeremy Guthrie hit Posada in the knee on April 28th, the lingering effects of which may have caused the calf strain which sidelined him for five days, which may or may not have contributed to this recent stress fracture. When you play through injuries, there could be a tendency to favor that side and put more pressure in places that the body isn't quite used to. Perhaps those hours behind the plate, putting too much weight on one side or the other could have weakened his foot to the point where the impact of a foul ball set off the fracture.

Jorge isn't an old guy in the grand scheme of things, but he certainly is up there when it comes to being a baseball player. He's downright ancient for a catcher.

As we all get older, we notice that we don't recover from the little injuries like we used to. A small tweak from a pick-up basketball game might linger for a couple of days. A run that you used to knock out without a problem now leaves you with aches and pains in places you aren't accustomed to. Hell, sometimes you might just sleep wrong and end up with a stiff back. Luckily for us, we can take a fews days off and be okay. Baseball players often try to work through minor issues and end up making things worse.

It was no secret that the Yankees were a little long in the tooth coming into this season, but I think it would be surprising to even a pessimistic observer just how many nagging injuries they've suffered. However, the world is a cruel place and they aren't getting any younger. It's just good to have Jorge back and put another solid stick in the lineup. It's not quite having Nick Johnson at DH and Posada behind the plate, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

This is a mean old world, try and live it by yourself.
Can't get the one you love, have to use somebody else.
[Song Notes: I really wanted to use the version of this song that Eric Clapton did with Duane Allman but the embedding on YouTube is disabled by request. This one from the movie Hail Hail Rock & Roll featuring Chuck Berry, Clapton, Keith Richards, Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Leavell and Steve Jordan is plenty good, however. The original version was recorded by Little Walter in 1953.]


Yankees: As we may have mentioned, Posada is back and DHing. He'll be batting sixth. Mark Teixeira is in the line up after being removed from yesterday's game with a bruised foot.
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Francisco Cervelli C
Brett Gardner LF
Phil Hughes P

Corey Patterson, LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Matt Wieters C
Adam Jones CF
Scott Moore 2B
Caesar Izturis SS


  1. Off topic, about the Tigers game. One hell of a catch by Ajax and a horrible horrible missed call. Inexcusable.

  2. The world is exploding over ''the call''. I won't repeat all of the obvious observations already being made, but I will give some credit to Jim Joyce for immediately issuing a release on his mistake. Everyone seems to be handling this in an incredibly classy manner, even if the fans want blood.

  3. I switched over to that game in the 8th and was in absolute disbelief when it happened. Jimmy, I hear you and Joyce is one of the better umps, but what the hell is he supposed to say? The play was not even that close. There is nothing he can do but apologize. I agree on Galarraga, he is handling it like a pro.