One of the Yankees' biggest bats reportedly might be headed for the disabled list.
Catcher Jorge Posada was inexplicably removed from the starting lineup minutes before the first pitch of New York's game against Cleveland on Sunday, replaced by Jose Molina. The team did not give an immediate reason for Posada's absence, and manager Joe Girardi batted Molina ninth and moved everyone else up one spot.
The New York Times reported that Posada was scratched because of a recurrence of the shoulder troubles that plagued him earlier this month and is likely headed for the 15-day disabled list.
The catcher is expected to meet with Dr. James Andrews this week. Posada, who The Times reports has a subscapularis muscle tear in his right shoulder, already has shared results of a MRI with Andrews and said surgery wasn't necessary.
However, Posada's shoulder hasn't improved, and The Times speculated that surgery might now be necessary.
Posada, who had caught three of the Yankees' past five games, missed two weeks behind the plate earlier in April. He has started just seven of the Yankees' 26 games at catcher this season.
The Yankees felt comfortable enough about Posada's progress that they designated catcher Chad Moeller for assignment on Friday. If Moeller is claimed by another team, New York has no other catchers in its system with major league catching experience besides Molina, who has seen the bulk of the action behind the plate this season.
Posada signed a four-year, $52.4 million contract to return to the Yankees in the offseason. He had his finest season in 2007, hitting a career best .338. He also had 20 homers and 90 RBIs.
So far this season, Posada is hitting .302 with one homer and 11 RBIs.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.