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04/04/08 6:56 PM ET

Posada returns, but not at catcher

Stiff shoulder forces veteran to start at designated hitter

NEW YORK -- Jorge Posada made it back into the Yankees' lineup on Friday, but going behind the plate will have to wait at least another day.

Posada was shifted to designated hitter as the Yankees prepared to open a four-game series with the Rays at Yankee Stadium. Posada had missed two games with a stiff right shoulder, and after testing his arm throwing during batting practice, the club decided to hold off on catching duty.

"He still feels it a little bit," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "It's improved, but after throwing, we decided it's best for him not to go behind the plate instead of DH today. I just asked Jorgie, and he said it's better, but he feels it's not ready to be pushed today."

Cashman said that no tests had been scheduled. Posada, New York's Opening Day catcher, said that the stiffness does not bother him when he swings the bat -- only when he throws. He was not sure if he would be able to catch on Saturday.

"I don't know yet," Posada said.

With Posada serving as designated hitter, Jose Molina made his third consecutive start behind the plate. Molina is 2-for-6 on the young season after batting .325 (13-for-40) with four doubles and six RBIs in 18 spring games. Posada was 0-for-2 with a walk on Tuesday.

Bench coach Rob Thomson -- acting as manager Friday with Joe Girardi under the weather -- said that Posada will attempt throwing again on Saturday and could be back in the lineup to handle scheduled starter Andy Pettitte.

"He's pretty close now," Thomson said. "We'll see obviously tomorrow when he comes to the ballpark, check him out and throw a little bit."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.