01/29/11 10:33 PM EST
Posada adjusting to new role with Yankees
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The 39-year-old Posada said on Saturday that he plans to bring his catching gear when the Bombers begin camp in two weeks, even though he has been told he is out of the catching mix for 2011.
"I'll catch. I'll catch this year," Posada said. "You know, I'll DH and then they're going to want me to catch one of those days, stuff like that. I'm keeping open-minded. I would love to catch. I'm training like I always do. And if I have to catch, I'll catch."
The Yankees haven't exactly laid it out that way. They envision the recently-signed Russell Martin as their Opening Day catcher, with youngsters Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine competing this spring for the backup role.
Posada's name has not been included in that mix, and he is aware of their plans. Still, the switch-hitter says he has made a full recovery from a November procedure to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and admits it will be difficult to not be behind the plate as much.
"I try to help out the team, and if that's going to help out the team and if that's what they want, then I'm OK with it," Posada said.
"It's going to be tough during the season to see tough games like that, behind the plate and stuff. Obviously that's going to happen, but other than that, if we are doing well and the team is doing well, it's going to be a little easier."
Posada spoke in New Rochelle, N.Y., attending a charity benefit for Hillside Food Outreach. The event was hosted by former Yankee Bernie Williams, and the longtime center fielder acknowledged it can be difficult for a star to be nudged along by the front office.
"You're always trying to trick yourself into thinking through your whole career that you can do more," Williams said. "You keep challenging yourself to go the next step. It looks bad when you actually put limits to yourself, as a teammate or to the front office.
"Whenever you say, 'I can't really do this, that's too much for me,' that's really not the attitude you want to have in a player. You still have the attitude [of], 'I know I can still do it.'"
Now Posada's mission will be proving he can adapt to a role as an everyday designated hitter, coming off a season in which he caught 83 games in 2010 and was a DH in 30 games, his career high.
Posada hit .245 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 102 at-bats as a DH last year and hopes that having a whole spring to adjust will help him. He plans to work with hitting coach Kevin Long in Miami beginning this week.
"Mentally, I think it's different," Posada said. "When you try to be a catcher, and you try to catch and you try to DH, it's tough. It's a struggle.
"But going into the season being a DH and knowing you're going to be the DH, I have to look for a routine. It's not easy to be a DH, so I have to find a nice little routine so that I can get used to it and have a good season."
It may even be a final turn at bat for Posada, whose four-year, $52.4 million deal expires after this season. But he isn't ready to go there yet, saying he hasn't ruled out playing in 2012.
"I would like to keep my doors open," Posada said. "If I feel good and I feel that I can do it, and I'm having fun, I would love to keep going. I love playing the game and I just hope that everything stays healthy."
Acknowledging that these are strange times for the remaining Core Four, Posada said that he was "excited" that Derek Jeter re-signed, but laughed at reports that the captain could move to center field by 2014.
"Derek's a shortstop and Derek is not going to move to another position," Posada said. "He hasn't even started playing this year and you're talking about four years from now. You can't see the future."
Unfortunately for the Yankees, they also have had trouble predicting what Andy Pettitte will do. Posada said he has exchanged text messages with Pettitte and holds out hope that the lefty decides to return for another season.
"I haven't asked him anything about baseball," Posada said. "I want him to make the decision and whatever it is, we're going to support it. Andy is a valuable guy for us. If he wants to be home, he's got the reasons to be home. But obviously we need him."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.