04/18/07 8:30 PM ET
Notes: Posada knows Yanks hurlers
Spring prepared catcher for working with multiple pitchers
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
It's times like these, Posada said, that he is thankful for having the opportunity to catch some of the Yankees' younger hurlers in Spring Training.
"Spring Training is key," Posada said. "When you have guys in Spring Training and you get to work with them, you have a pretty good idea of what they want to do."
Thanks to work performed during the Grapefruit League schedule, Posada feels as though he has a good mental log for pitchers like Chase Wright, who made his Major League debut Tuesday against the Indians.
Whether the Yankees need a ground ball, a fly ball or a strikeout, Posada feels he has a pretty good idea of how to go about handling it.
"Jorge's a good guy," said right-hander Darrell Rasner, who starts Thursday against Cleveland. "He works extra hard to call the right pitches. It's a comfort thing. You know what he puts down is the right call."
That's not to say that Posada is always correct, although Rasner noted that he has seen just "a small percentage" of Posada's calls being shaken off by the younger Yankees hurlers.
"Young pitchers rely on a veteran catcher, and Jorgie understands the responsibility," manager Joe Torre said. "He certainly has a feel for the young man out there, and he cares a great deal about the youngster doing well. I like that feel."
Posada said service time is not a consideration; there's no problem if a pitcher feels uncomfortable and shakes the catcher off. Posada believes the younger pitchers are thinking along with the game and making their own decisions, not simply waiting for signs to be put down.
"They have to have a plan, also," Posada said. "We go through the lineup and go through the guys, and we have a pretty good plan of how to attack them. They've got to be thinking two or three pitches ahead -- that's just the way it is."
Starters named: Jeff Karstens and Wright will get their cracks at pitching in Fenway Park over the weekend, Torre announced Wednesday.
Karstens -- who likely would have been the Yankees' fifth starter if not for a bout with elbow tendinitis late in Spring Training -- will arrive in New York on Thursday and will fly with the team to Boston, where the right-hander will be activated in time to start Saturday's late-afternoon game against the Red Sox.
Likewise, the left-handed rookie Wright will stick in the rotation for at least one more turn, making the start on Sunday opposite right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka.
"It's going to be pretty intense," said Wright, who said he plans to fly his family from Texas to Boston for the game. "Even down at the Minor League levels, we know [when] we're playing the Red Sox. But it's a whole different level up here."
Torre said that the Yankees decided upon the 24-year-old Wright following his solid five innings of work over the Indians on Tuesday. Torre recalled seeing a gleam of excitement -- not fear or trepidation -- in Wright's eyes in a brief pregame meeting.
"We just feel, emotionally, he can handle it," Torre said. "I'm not saying he's not going to have some butterflies. You hope he will, because that's the exciting part about what he's doing.
"It's a growing process, and he looks like he's going to be a pretty good big leaguer. All this stuff is certainly going to help him in that regard."
The quiet contributor: During the Yankees' recent dearth of starting pitching, left-hander Mike Myers has volunteered several times to take the game ball in the first inning, according to Torre.
While the Yankees' needs haven't grown quite that desperate yet -- Torre said the conversations have only lasted as long as it takes the manager to walk away -- the motives behind Myers' suggestions are appreciated.
"He's the perfect example of whatever a team needs, he's willing to offer," Torre said.
Even though the timing isn't right for Myers to make his first professional start since 1994, he has still proven to be a valuable presence in the Yankees bullpen.
Quietly, Myers -- who joined the Yankees last season as a situational lefty -- has seen his role expanded, to positive results: in his first eight appearances this season, spanning seven innings, Myers has allowed no runs and just one hit.
"You can see he's pitching with a lot of confidence right now," Torre said. "He likes throwing his fastball and, again, when you have as good a breaking ball as he has, left-handers can't sit on one particular pitch."
Injury updates: Right-hander Carl Pavano (right forearm tightness) has not been cleared to resume throwing yet, following his stalled attempt at a mound session Sunday in Oakland, but Torre said that the hurler would do so "in a couple of days."
Right-hander Mike Mussina (strained left hamstring) is also sidelined, but is keeping up his arm strength by throwing. Torre said that he anticipated the Yankees would test Mussina's left leg with a rehab start before his eventual activation.
"When you're dealing with the leg, you can warm up all you want," Torre said. "I'm not sure you know if it's going to affect you when you're competing."
Torre added that Hideki Matsui (strained left hamstring) remains on track to rejoin the club on Monday at Tampa Bay, and said that he does not believe playing on synthetic grass at Tropicana Field would pose a problem for the outfielder.
"It's not like that concrete [turf] that it's been in the past," Torre said.
Coming up: The Yankees play the final game of their three-game series with the Indians on Thursday in an afternoon matinee.
Right-hander Darrell Rasner (0-1, 4.66 ERA) makes his third start of the season for New York, opposite right-hander Fausto Carmona (0-1, 12.46 ERA). First pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.