TAMPA, Fla. - Stripped of his catching duties after last season and entering the final year of his contract, Jorge Posada still isn't ready to ponder a countdown for his Yankees career.
"I can't think like that," Posada said Tuesday morning. "I can't think of an end because obviously if I feel good I want to keep [playing]. I want to play this year, and really think about the season, about the moment, and not get carried away about what's going to happen."
What is likely to happen in 2011 is Posada will be the primary designated hitter in his 17th and final season with the Yankees. With the need to free up the DH spot for more days off in future seasons for aging infielders Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, keeping Posada, who will turn 40 in August, isn't feasible.
Can he see himself in another uniform?
"I really can't," Posada said. "After the year, it would be really tough to look somewhere else, so we'll see. If I want to play, I would like to stay here."
Posada doesn't know how his body will come through the season. Because of various injuries, he was able to start only 80 games at catcher in 2010. Posada had surgery in November to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and won't catch here for another week as a precaution. Manager Joe Girardi was noncommittal about Posada's even catching a game in spring training, instead discussing the need for him to get used to the "transition" to DH.
"Adjustments for players can be very difficult at times," Girardi said. "The one thing that we're planning on is Jorge is going to see his name in the lineup. We plan on him being our everyday DH, so it's not like it's going from playing five or six days a week to playing once a week."
Posada, who hopes to have around 500 at-bats, said the transition will be a challenge. In 30 games at DH last year he hit .245, and in 90 career games at DH he has a .223 average. Nonetheless, he's embracing what's ahead. He tried to reach Edgar Martinez, a borderline Hall of Famer who was primarily a DH, during the offseason and plans to talk to the Twins' Jim Thome, who has thrived in that role in recent years.
"I'm coming in with a positive mind, I want to have a positive attitude toward everything," Posada said. "They want me to DH, I'll DH. Whatever it takes."
As for playing after this season, Posada answered honestly.
"I don't know," he said. "A lot has to do with this year. How I feel this year, how I come out after this season. I would like to stay healthy. I think DH'ing is going to help me. And then after the season see how my body responded the whole year and make that decision then."