Jorge Posada believed. Even if you didn't.
Even when his batting average stalled below the line of respectability, the Yankees' beleaguered designated hitter never gave up hope. When just weeks ago it seemed as if he wouldn't be on the postseason roster, the 40-year-old proved the power of positive thinking.
"I felt I was going to be," Posada said Thursday afternoon before the team's ALDS workout. "I never thought of myself as being out of it."
His confidence didn't stem from his 17-year tenure with the Yankees or his years of playoff experience. Posada simply believed he'd make it to October because he couldn't picture the alternative. "You don't want to [think] that you're not going to be on the roster if you want to be on it," he said.
Though the official postseason roster won't be released until Friday, Joe Girardi confirmed that Posada has in fact made the cut, saying: "Our intent is to use Jorgie as our DH. We will go with that, and you just play it out."
It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement. But after the tumultuous season Posada has had, he'll take it. He was batting .169 through June 4 before hitting .282 the rest of the way to lift his final average to .235. The low point of the year came in May when he removed himself from the lineup after Girardi dropped him to ninth in the batting order against the Red Sox.
In his moments of overwhelming frustration, Posada turned to his best friend.
"It's got to be difficult for him," Derek Jeter told Newsday. "I don't want to speak on his behalf, but you're talking about someone that's used to playing every single day and takes a lot of pride in playing every day, and this year was a little bit different. I'm sure it was an adjustment."
But Posada insists the ALDS against Detroit is about the Yankees' quest for a 28th world championship, not his tale of redemption. Yes, he'd like to wipe the slate clean, to close out what likely will be his final season in pinstripes in style. But above all else, he wants to see his team succeed.
"I don't live in the past," said Posada, who has 14 home runs -- his lowest total in a full season since he hit 12 in 1999 -- and 44 RBIs heading into Game 1. "I live in the future."
Posada said he doesn't allow himself to "go back" in time and revisit the low points of his season.
"There's not much I could have controlled back then," he said. "I started really bad and then I felt like I was doing some things well and things happened. But this is the season right now. You play 162 games for this and you look forward to [tonight]. I think everybody in here does."
Posada might have caught a break in that the Yankees will face the Tigers, who will throw an all-righty rotation, instead of the Rangers. The switch hitter batted .269 (75-for-279) with 14 homers and 41 RBIs against righthanders, compared to .092 (6-for-65) with no homers and three RBIs against lefties.
This could be the last postseason Jeter and Posada play together. But the shortstop said, "You try not to think about it.
"We've been playing, doing this for a long time, and we do it to try to win," Jeter said. "And right now we have a chance to win this year, so I think that's everyone's focus. It's not on what could possibly be next. You know what I mean? It's more on what can we do to try to win right now."
Posada can't bring himself to focus on the future just yet, either.
"I really can't,'' he said, "because we have an important job to do."