Jorge Posada was expected to make his first start since his weekend pullout Tuesday night in Tampa — in the seventh spot and not the ninth — but that didn’t diminish the cloud of nonsense that continues over the 2011 version of the Bronx Zoo.
Though this team doesn’t quite have the punch of the Reggie Jackson-Thurman Munson-Greg Nettles-Goose Gossage version, there seems never to be a loss for controversy. Even three days after the 39-year-old Posada pulled himself from the lineup, the undertones from on high indicated that all is not right.
Start with Monday’s conference call between Derek Jeter, who came to Posada’s defense, and various high-ranking members of the front office that included Hal Steinbrenner. Just a friendly chat to make sure everybody was on the same page about Jeter’s behavior.
Uh-huh. So why the need to publicize it? Obviously there was more to that conversation than anyone would admit.
Then came word through unnamed sources that Posada had refused to catch several spring training games, even though general manager Brian Cashman had told him to be prepared for several catching assignments despite a demotion to a full-time DH role.
“Not at all,” he said. “Not once. A hundred percent. Not even close. They told me to go to the bullpen and stuff, so I caught in the bullpen every once in a while. But they never asked me [to catch in a game].”
So the pot continues to simmer, if not boil. Meanwhile, the getting-older-by-the-day Yanks went into Tuesday night’s game trying to snap a six-game losing streak, the longest under Joe Girardi.
The old Bronx Zoo used to thrive under these types of conditions. Players fought with each other. Players fought with Billy Martin. Players fought with George Steinbrenner. But they were, in most cases, younger players — not a 39-year-old Posada or a 36-year-old Jeter.
This edition of the Bronx Zoo may soon find itself caged off from pennant contention if things don’t turn around — and settle down — soon.