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05/30/08 8:03 PM ET

Posada clears latest rehab phase

Veteran catcher eyeing next homestand for possible return

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jorge Posada seems to be feeling increasingly chipper about the health of his throwing arm, and the catcher could rejoin his Yankees teammates when the club returns to New York for a seven-game homestand on Tuesday.

Rehabbing a stiff right shoulder, Posada went 2-for-5 with one walk as a designated hitter while playing for the Yankees' extended spring team on Friday in Tampa, Fla. He will have his biggest test yet on Saturday, when he throws to all of the bases for the first time since he was disabled after an April 27 game.

"I just hope everything stays the same and keeps progressing," Posada told The Associated Press.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been exchanging telephone calls and text messages with the five-time All-Star, and he's optimistic that Posada is on the right path.

Girardi said that Posada could catch back-to-back rehab games on Monday and Tuesday before returning to New York.

"He's getting pretty close," Girardi said.

Girardi said that once Posada does return to the team, the Yankees will continue to carry three catchers for a period of time.

They were caught short during the April series in Cleveland when Posada said his arm felt fine and the club designated Chad Moeller for assignment. But then Posada was unable to catch 12 minutes before the April 27 game at Progressive Field, forcing backup Jose Molina into action.

The Yankees then waited to see if Moeller would clear waivers, watching him reject an outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a concerted effort before signing him to a Major League contract. They'll wait it out to avoid being caught similarly short again.

In other injury updates, right-hander Ian Kennedy (right lat strain) is expected to resume throwing in seven to 10 days. Right-hander Phil Hughes (fractured rib) will undergo a second bone scan next week to determine if he can be cleared for physical activities.

The AP also reported that right-hander Carl Pavano -- rehabbing from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery -- threw 40 pitches off a half mound on Friday and could work off a bullpen mound next week. Pavano is considered an outside possibility to make it back to the big leagues this season.

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