Posada still hoping to avoid surgery this season

Updated: July 24, 2008, 1:49 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada wants to put off surgery on his right shoulder even if it means sacrificing the start of next season. If he does play the rest of this year, it won't be behind the plate.

On the disabled list for the second time this season, Posada had his throwing shoulder examined by New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek on Tuesday, and surgery was again recommended. An MRI showed fraying in the tendons around the labrum, but not a rotator cuff tear, Posada said Wednesday before the Yankees played the Minnesota Twins.

He missed more than a month earlier this season with right rotator cuff tendinitis.

"I've got 15 days to make a decision," said Posada, who went on the DL Monday. "I'll rehab it and see how it feels and have a decision by then."

In his 14th season, Posada is extremely proud about being a full-time catcher his entire career. But he said that if he is to continue playing this season, catching is "out of the question" for the remainder of the year.

"It's not about me. It's about the team now, how can I help the team. That's why I'm going to go through the rehab," Posada said. "If I'm able to hit, I'm going to try to do that. If I'm not able to hit, I'm going to have surgery."

Jorge Posada

Posada

Posada said the Yankees agreed with his decision to keep playing even with the possibility of a six-month rehab looming after surgery.

Hitting .268 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 168 at-bats this season, Posada said the shoulder doesn't hurt when he's swinging a bat but has gotten weaker because of his throwing.

Posada will continue his rehabilitation regime without throwing drills and will make a decision based on how the shoulder is responding.

"The doctor said if I'm not throwing, it won't get weak because I'm not throwing," Posada said. "I can strengthen it and hit. Then it won't get weak. They put me on the DL to make a decision of what to do and strengthen and rehab it and go from there."

Manager Joe Girardi said there's a "risk/reward" with whatever decision is made.

"Obviously you look at a player long-term," Girardi said. "But there's ways you also could help a club and there's decisions that all parties will discuss, and then we'll decide what's best."

Posada could play first base or serve as the designated hitter, two spots at which the Yankees are overloaded with Jason Giambi, newly acquired slugger Richie Sexson, Johnny Damon and the injured Hideki Matsui.

"There are a lot of different things we could do," Girardi said. "There are situations, maybe against a lefty. He might play first or Richie might play first and he might DH. There's a lot of different things you could do."

Whether Matsui needs season-ending surgery on his knee could be a factor in the team's decision. Matsui has been on the DL since June 23 and has been resisting surgery. Girardi said Matsui will resume baseball activities Monday and the Yankees will see how the knee reacts to the stress.

Matsui's and Posada's progress will go a long way toward helping the Yankees decide if they need to be aggressive as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches on July 31.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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