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Girardi doing his best to keep Posada healthy

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who is approaching 39

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who is approaching 39 years old, has been banged up despite Joe Girardi's attempts to keep him fresh. Credit: AP

ARLINGTON, Texas - Last week Joe Girardi talked about the catching rotation he had been using and planned to use the rest of the season.

Francisco Cervelli catching A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez, and Jorge Posada catching everyone else.

But the cyst that acted up behind Posada's left knee in Cleveland two weeks ago and then the shoulder issue that cropped up Monday, which kept him out of Tuesday's game as a pinch hitter, served as another reminder that things aren't always so predictable with a soon-to-be 39-year-old catcher.

"Cervy will probably catch A.J. every time, then we'll have to move it around a little bit," Girardi said. "Cervy has caught Dustin [Moseley] - he's caught all the guys. We'll have to adjust it a little bit."

Posada caught Vazquez last night, the first time since May 1 he's caught the righthander.

Of most concern to Girardi is he's believed overall this season he's done about all he could to preserve Posada, who entered hitting .258 with 12 homers and 39 RBIs.

And the catcher has spent just one stint on the disabled list - May 17-June 1 with a fractured right foot - but other less severe injuries, like a calf issue, the Baker's cyst and shoulder, have cropped up. Again, the realities of a player nearing 40 who plays the most physically demanding position.

"I was catching him, DH'ing him, catching him, DH'ing him and the Baker's cyst came back [anyway]," Girardi said. "Is that a warning? That's somewhat of a red flag for me, that it's the everyday, whether he's catching or not, that brings an issue."

Meaning catching Posada three out of every five days, the plan going into the season, and then giving him a day or two at DH, isn't feasible.

"It's something that we're going to have to deal with," Girardi said. "I know he wants to play seven days in a row, 13 out of 14. It's very difficult to do. I have a job that I have to make sure that he stays healthy. Sometimes we think with our heart instead of our head, but my job is to think with my head to make sure that we don't physically hurt him and to make sure that he can handle the workload he's given."

Meeting with reporters before the game, Posada, who turns 39 Tuesday, wasn't interested in running through his ailments or schedule. "I just felt something, but it's fine," Posada said of his shoulder, which acted up in the ninth inning Monday when Joba Chamberlain pitched out and Posada threw to second trying to get the Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury.

As for the series of injuries, Posada said: "It happens, man. It happens every year. It's nothing different from other years."

And catching three out of five? "Whatever it is - two out of three, three out of four, whatever," he said. "I just want to play."

The exact kind of answers Girardi expects out of Posada.

"Players always want to play, that's the bottom line, and you wouldn't want them any other way," Girardi said. "They want to be out there every day. I have to remind Jorge, he's not 25. He's going to be 39 in a week. Physically, he's had knee issues and he's had other issues that we've had to deal with.

"I can run him out there five days in a row, but I'm not sure when we'll get him back. That's what I have to guard against. Those are the tough decisions that I have to make. Sometime players aren't going to like them, but we've been able to keep him off the DL for the most part this year."

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