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Posada on batting ninth: I put myself in this spot

New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada (20)

New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada (20) during batting practice prior to the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. (May 14, 2011) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

UPDATE: About a half-hour before first pitch, the Yankees announced Posada had been scratched from the lineup, replaced by Andruw Jones. They did not give a reason. Posada went through batting practice and fielded some balls during BP. Posada is expected to speak to the media after the game.

After Friday night’s loss, Joe Girardi said he was thinking about doing some tinkering with the Yankees’ struggling lineup.

Saturday night he did, dropping Jorge Posada to ninth and Nick Swisher to eighth. Neither have batted in those respective positions this season. Russell Martin was moved to sixth, the second time he’s hit there this year, and Brett Gardner was bumped up to seventh, also for the second time.

“Just trying to get some guys going,” Girardi said. “Martin and Gardy we feel have had pretty good at-bats and have been productive and just dropped Swish and Posada. It’s been a struggle this year. We’re just trying to get them going.”

Posada, a proud veteran, occupying the ninth spot, of course, jumped out. The 39-year-old designated hitter, who entered Saturday hitting .165, made something clear.
“I put myself in this spot,” he said before the game.

Girardi dropped Gardner to ninth earlier in the season and the leftfielder has responded recently, on a 9-for-20 tear going into Saturday night. Girardi acknowledged a difference in demoting a player with Posada’s track record and the 27-year-old Gardner’s [Posada actually had batted ninth in 108 previous games in his career].

“It is [tougher],” Girardi said. “I have a ton of respect for what Jorgie’s done over his career and the success that he’s had. No one wants to be bumped down or moved down in the order, I don’t care who you are. I don’t care if you’re a young guy and you’re struggling, you don’t want to be moved down. But with what Jorgie has meant to this franchise, the success that he’s had, it is a little more difficult.”

Girardi said he wasn’t thinking in terms of how much longer Posada has before he considers a move out of the order to the bench.

“Our hope is that he gets going and we don’t have to cross that bridge,” Girardi said. “That’s my thought process in this. You don’t necessarily think that a guy’s not going to be able to do it who’s done it so long in his career.”

On one hand Posada said “I don’t feel like I’m in a slump,” referencing a four-game series in Detroit at the start of the month when he felt he swung the bat the best he has all season.

But Posada, hitting .212 against right-handers and 0-for-24 against lefties, isn’t oblivious to where he’s at.

“I’m in the lineup and the only way I’m coming out of hitting ninth is just producing, that’s the bottom line,” Posada said. “I’m still in there and just keep building on positives. I’m still in the lineup. I am hitting lineup and I put myself in this spot. It’s not like I’m wanting to hit ninth and it’s not like I want to hit .100 and whatever I’m hitting. It’s just a matter of coming out of it.”

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