Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees reacts after...

Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees reacts after flying out to end the third inning with the bases loaded against the Chicago White Sox. (May 2, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Jorge Posada declared himself "better than yesterday," but said he's unlikely to play until Friday at the earliest.

Mariano Rivera threw a pregame bullpen session without pain, but sounded as if he'd be off at least another day.

Still, the feeling is the Yankees dodged major injury bullets with two of their veterans.

Posada, diagnosed Monday night with a mild strain in his right calf, said the calf still felt "stiff" Tuesday.

"They want me off my feet today," said Posada, who said he felt the pain during his second at-bat Monday. "Just have me do treatment to make it less stiff."

The Yankees believe Posada can serve as an emergency catcher while he's out, the reason they called up outfielder Greg Golson Tuesday from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre instead of a catcher and sent down reliever Mark Melancon.

"We felt we could use the outfielder and Jorgie, we feel we could put him back there and he would be OK," manager Joe Girardi said before the game. "We just don't feel he's ready to catch nine innings yet."

Rivera, out with stiffness in his left side, threw 10-15 pitches in the bullpen.

"It felt good," said Rivera, who added he didn't feel the stiffness while throwing. "I mean, you're never going to feel 100 percent but we want it to feel as best we can. So far, it feels great."

Before Rivera threw, Girardi indicated he'd probably stay away from the closer last night and Rivera said he wouldn't object to another day off.

"That would be fine with me," Rivera said. "Like I said, it's early in the season and we have to make smart decisions."

Half day for Jeter

With the Yankees in a stretch of nine straight days without a day off, then 17 straight after having Thursday off, Girardi is mindful of getting his veteran players rest. That was his reason for putting Derek Jeter at DH last night.

"In the midst of these long runs, I have to find time for these guys," Girardi said. "I tried to put it in a gentle way last night, but there's a little age on them."

Extra bases

Girardi said Chan Ho Park, on the DL since April 16 with a right hamstring strain, has been throwing in Tampa without pain and "the goal" is for the pitcher to throw a bullpen session Friday. "If that goes well, you could see him in a [rehab] game shortly after that," Girardi said . . . As part of a promotion with Dunkin' Donuts and his Catch 25 Foundation, Girardi spent the morning at Engine 39, Ladder 16 in Manhattan, wearing his World Series ring. "You think about the sacrifices all the firefighters have made here," Girardi said. "Special people."

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