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Jeter downplays Posada's situation

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees during batting practice before playing against the Kansas City Royals. (May 11, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Derek Jeter didn't scour the Internet looking for the inside scoop on Jorge Posada's situation, nor did he break out his remote control and surf through television channels in an attempt to find out what transpired Saturday night.

The Yankees' captain was perfectly fine with the explanation he received when he and his good friend Posada discussed why the designated hitter asked out of the lineup an hour before the first pitch of a nationally televised game against the Red Sox.

"My understanding is he went to the manager and told the manager he needed a day off," Jeter said before the Yankees took on Boston in their series finale Sunday night. "That's the extent of what I know. Now, if that's the case, I don't think there's anything wrong with that . . . I don't know what happened behind closed doors. I don't get involved. It's not my place.

"Sometimes things go on between players and managers, and sometimes people don't necessarily want everyone to know what happened."

But Jeter added: "He's like a brother. We've been together for a long time. If I thought he did something wrong, I'd be the first one to tell you."

Carrying a .165 average as the team's DH, Posada was scheduled to bat ninth against the Red Sox on Saturday night. But a few hours after telling reporters he was OK with the switch, he went into Joe Girardi's office, asking to be removed from the lineup. After the game, he cited a stiff back and a need to clear his head as his reasons for not playing.

Jeter indicated he wasn't the least bit bothered by Posada's request to take a seat, even though Posada said Sunday that he could have played.

"It's not the first time I've had a teammate that has asked out of the lineup," Jeter said. "It's just this is sort of a much bigger deal, you know what I mean? One thing we've always been told, and Joe will be the first one to tell you, he's always told us that if you feel like you need a day, let him know. It was my understanding that's what happened.

"There's been a lot of other stories that have been out there, but my understanding, from what he told [the media] and what he told me, was he needed a day to clear his mind, and it's understandable."

Posada did not start against lefthander Jon Lester Sunday night-- he was hitless in 24 at-bats against lefties this season -- and many are beginning to question if the 39-year-old still can get it done. He was stripped of his catching duties in November and turned strictly into a designated hitter, and longtime teammates such as Mariano Rivera empathize with him.

"It's a different situation where he's at,'' Rivera said, "putting in 15, 17 years, having done that, and all of a sudden, he's a DH and put in the nine hole."

Jeter, no stranger to struggling at the plate, said it's difficult to watch Posada's plight.

"It's probably tough to go through anything yourself, but it's also tough to see one of your teammates go through it, you know what I mean?" he said. "Because you are pulling for them, you want them to do well. But then again, you have a long way to go. You have to stay positive in those situations."

Otherwise, as Posada found out, it quickly can morph into a big-time distraction.

"[Saturday] definitely was, but this is over," Rivera said. "Today is a new day. The sun came out today and with that, we just have to go out and play baseball."

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