You'd classify the ovation as "warm," as opposed to "passionate" or "joy-filled." The Yankee Stadium fans welcomed Jorge Posada off the disabled list Wednesday evening as if he were a beloved relative, returning from a short trip overseas.
There's that immense comfort level with Posada, who wore a protective device for his fractured right foot. There's also that increasingly comfortable notion of Posada being on the disabled list.
Stunningly, Posada seemed to catch on to that reality Wednesday, or at least accept good coaching from someone concerning the right thing to say.
The Yankees as currently constructed need a designated hitter more than they need a catcher. Posada, the Yankees' primary catcher since 2000 - and a shareholder with his current manager Joe Girardi the two seasons prior to that - said that he can roll with the tide.
"You don't see too many 38-year-old catchers playing every day," he said, before the Yankees stomped on the lowly Orioles, 9-1. "I understand what's going on. We'll see what happens."
No, Wednesday did not mark the end of one era and the start of another. Nick Johnson should return from right wrist surgery, and if he does, the Yankees' best lineup - their playoff lineup, if you will - would feature Johnson at DH and Posada behind the plate.
Furthermore, while Cervelli has been a godsend as Posada's injury replacement, let's not quite yet anoint him as Posada's longtime heir apparent, not with Jesus Montero and Austin Romine working their way up the system.
Therefore, let's recognize this day for what it was: The beginning of the end of Posada's reign.
"We need Jorgie to catch," said Joe Girardi, who doesn't do well in news conferences dominated by such a sensitive issue. "I believe Jorgie has plenty of baseball left in him."
When a reporter followed up by asking whether Posada had plenty of catching left in him, Girardi said, "Whatever he can physically handle."
Posada avoided the disabled list until 2008, an amazing run of durability for a catcher, but he now has four DL visits since the start of '08
"Being behind the plate and not being injured, you play through injuries, you play hurt," Posada said.
Cervelli, 24, can better handle the physical grind of catching regularly. He is more mobile back there, and the pitchers generally seem to enjoy working with him.
And Posada just brings so much to the party as a hitter that - especially during Johnson's absence - it's a shame not to have them out there as much as possible. A switch-hitting, middle-of-the-order guy? How many teams would kill to have him as their DH? "There's going to be a time when you're not an everyday catcher. That's fine," Posada said. "If I'm able to help out the team as a DH, obviously, I'd like to do that."
Following his warm ovation in the second inning, Poasda drew a walk, and then motored home on Curtis Granderson's double to centerfield. In the fifth, he lined a single to centerfield and now has a riduculous 409 on-base percentage and .600 slugging percentage in 105 plate appearances. The Yankees kept third catcher Chad Moeller when they activated Posada, instead optioning DH fill-in Juan Miranda to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. And while Girardi wouldn't put a timetable on when Posada would return to catching, that action spoke louder than words.
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