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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

Finally, a feel-good moment for Posada

Jorge Posada follows through on a ninth-inning pinch

Jorge Posada follows through on a ninth-inning pinch hit double against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. (May 24, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

After the Yankees completed a 5-4 comeback win over the Blue Jays last night, Jorge Posada stood among his teammates in the clubhouse watching the video of A.J. Burnett hitting Mark Teixeira in the face with a postgame pie.

"It's a good feeling in here when you win a game like that," Posada said. "Everybody's laughing, everybody's looking at A.J. getting ready for Tex. It's a good feeling in the clubhouse."

It's been a while since Posada has felt good about his lot with the Yankees. The proud former catcher has been reduced to part-time designated hitter in what likely will be his last season in pinstripes.

Posada didn't start last night against lefthander Ricky Romero. When he came out to give Russell Martin a break and warm up CC Sabathia before the top of the eighth, it looked as if that might be his only action of the night.

But the Yankees, trailing 4-1, rallied with two in the eighth and two in the ninth. Posada started the ninth-inning uprising with a one-out, first-pitch, pinch-hit double to right-center against Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco. He was removed for a pinch runner.

"It was quick," Posada said. "In and out of there. It's fine. Get those fast runners in there."

How much time did Posada actually spend on the field? A minute? Two? Whatever it was, it was as big to him and to the Yankees as anything that happened in the rest of the two- hour, 36-minute game.

Posada contributed. To a win.

"You can go home and be happy about a big win for us," he said. "Obviously, I was a big part of it. It's going to help."

Sabathia, who pitched a complete game for the win, said: "[Posada] has had so many big moments in this organization. He's been here for a long time. I think everybody's making a big deal out of everything he does now, but we kind of expect it out of him."

The big-deal stuff comes from Posada's decision to ask out of the lineup after manager Joe Girardi slotted him ninth against the Red Sox on May 14. Tension, not joy, filled the Yankees clubhouse for a day and a half before Posada apologized.

Interestingly, that untidy incident has somehow made Posada more popular with Yankees fans. His every (rare) appearance on the field is greeted with loud cheers, something that Posada said he has noticed because, well, he has a lot more time on his hands now.

"It's good to come in the game and see the fans' reaction," he said. "You hear them a lot more after you do something."

Tuesday night he heard them as he jogged back to the dugout after his double. He watched the rest of the inning unfold and was in the middle of the celebration after Teixeira's game-winning single off the glove of first baseman Juan Rivera.

Posada, who is still batting just .183, likely won't be in the lineup Wednesday when the Yankees face lefthander Jo Jo Reyes. The Yankees have decided to mothball his righthanded swing after he started the season 0-for-25 vs. lefties.

Girardi was asked if he thought it was a big hit for Posada.

"I do," he said. "As we said, he has swung the bat better -- lefthanded -- and that's a huge hit for Jorgie."

It almost didn't happen. Posada said he was told he would be batting for Eduardo Nunez only if ninth-inning leadoff man Brett Gardner didn't reach base. Gardner grounded to first. Posada had his moment.

That's the life of a part-time player.

"I'm just hangin'," Posada said. "See what happens."


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