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07/21/08 9:15 PM ET

Posada goes on DL; MRI on Tuesday

Yanks' catcher to consider season-ending shoulder surgery

NEW YORK -- Every time Jorge Posada made a throw and winced, inevitability stared him in the face. Posada was going to need surgery; it was just a matter of time.

Yet that time might have come a bit sooner than anyone expected -- or at least sooner than anyone had hoped. The Yankees placed Posada on the disabled list on Monday with continued right shoulder discomfort, and they could learn Tuesday whether or not he will opt for season-ending surgery.

"The shoulder is messed up," Posada said. "I have no power when I go to make a throw, and there's pain every time I make a throw. It's been like that all season."

To what extent, Posada has kept hidden. He missed 32 games earlier this season with right rotator cuff tendinitis, then returned and saw his role behind the plate drastically reduced. Unable to throw without pain, Posada ceded most of his playing time to backup Jose Molina, instead helping the Yankees in a designated hitter role.

Posada will have an MRI on the shoulder on Tuesday, and after meeting with Dr. David Altchek, he could decide to rehab the shoulder and return to the Yankees in a similar role. Yet he will almost undoubtedly have surgery either way, and recovery for such an operation takes four to six months. Should Posada wait until season's end, he would risk not being ready in time for Spring Training. But should he opt for surgery immediately, he could not return this season.

"I don't want to miss a year," Posada said. "I still want to help out, but I've still got to look at the option of next year. So we'll see."

Posada admitted on Monday to playing with pain throughout this season, and he said that his shoulder injury affected more than just his throwing. Sapping him of his power and his ability to hit from the left side, Posada hinted that the shoulder pain was a large reason why he was batting .268 with only three homers in 51 games.

Last season, he set career highs with a .338 average and .543 slugging percentage.

Yet Posada's greatest problem has been throwing, and he said he knew that he would be heading to the disabled list following Saturday's game -- one in which he caught and allowed two Athletics players to steal second base.

Molina and Chad Moeller will split time at catcher during Posada's absence -- whether that's for the rest of the month or the rest of the year.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi offered the possibility that Posada could opt against surgery, rehab his shoulder, then return to the team exclusively as a first baseman and designated hitter. But Posada said he was willing to delay surgery only if he knew he would recover in time to rejoin the team for Spring Training.

"Jorge is here to do whatever helps us win," Girardi said. "That's the type of person he is; that's the type of player he's always been. But until you see a doctor, it's silly to speculate."

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