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Yanks' Posada sidelined 5 weeks with shoulder strain

5/2/2008

NEW YORK -- Jorge Posada stood in front of his locker, his
right shoulder wrapped in bandages following treatment.

The good news was the New York Yankees catcher didn't need an
operation now. The bad news was that he will be sidelined for at
least five weeks.

"I thought I was going to have to get surgery. We're going to
look at that option probably after the season," Posada said before
Friday night's game against the Seattle Mariners.

Posada thinks he hurt the shoulder as a result of compensating
during spring training for a sore muscle in his right side, an
injury that caused him to be scratched from the starting lineup on
March 7.

Yankees physician Dr. Stuart Hershon examined the 36-year-old
catcher this week, as did orthopedist Dr. James Andrews and New
York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek. In addition,
Cincinnati Reds team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek, a shoulder
specialist, reviewed scans Friday.

"Let me make sure I get my `cheks' right," Yankees manager Joe
Girardi joked as he described the evaluations.

Posada said he has inflammation of the rotator cuff but the
condition of his labrum was unchanged from a scan taken during the
offseason for an insurance policy.

"All the doctors agree," he said. "It just needs rest."

Posada last played Saturday in Cleveland and the five-time
All-Star is on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
He is being treated with heat and ice.

"We're talking, you know, two weeks off from throwing, and see
where we're at from there," Girardi said. "If everything goes OK
to that point, my thought is probably two weeks of strengthening
the arm with throwing, and then you start thinking about some
games."

Posada would be able to catch only about five innings at first
when he returns from a monthlong layoff, Girardi said, so he would
need a rehabilitation assignment before rejoining the Yankees.

"You have to build up some stamina," Girardi said.

New York also is missing third baseman Alex Rodriguez (strained
right quadriceps) and starting pitcher Phil Hughes (fractured rib).

Hughes had his eyes examined Friday and will start wearing
glasses when he pitches. He has been bothered by glare during night
games and has had trouble picking up signs from his catcher.

"We can't continue to go with what we're doing because that
doesn't work unless we get all day games," Girardi said.

Hughes said he is slightly nearsighted. He didn't feel
comfortable wearing contact lenses, so he will wear frames similar
to those used by Detroit's Nate Robertson.

"When I looked through the prescription, it made a pretty big
difference," he said.

With Hughes out until at least July, the Yankees don't plan to
move Joba Chamberlain into the bullpen -- at least not yet.

"I'm sure as the months go on and weeks go on, conversations
will continue to take place," Girardi said. "For the time being,
he'll still in our bullpen."