Jorge Posada looking forward to DH role

Updated: January 30, 2011, 12:58 AM ET
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Jorge Posada knows he's entering spring training as the Yankees' full-time designated hitter, but he's still going to bring a catcher's glove to Tampa.

Posada, speaking for the first time publicly about his new role as the Yankees' everyday DH, said on Saturday night that he looks forward to his new DH duties. But, make no mistake, Posada expects to catch at some point in 2011.

"You know what, it is what it is," Posada said of his new role. "I look forward to everything I do. I try to help out the team and if that's going to help out the team and if that's what they want then I'm OK with it.

"It's going to be tough during the season to see tough games ... behind the plate," he added. "Obviously that's going to happen. But other than that, if we are doing well and the team is doing well it's going to be a little easier."

Posada was asked how he felt about the fact that his days are numbered. The 16-year veteran cut off the question.

"I'll catch, I'll catch. I'll catch this year. You know, I'll DH and then they're going to want me to catch one of those days," Posada said during an appearance at the Hillside Food Outreach benefit, hosted by Bernie Williams. "... I'm keeping open minded; I would love to catch. I'm training like I always do. And if I have to catch, I'll catch."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman informed Posada in November that he would be the team's full-time designated hitter. Russell Martin will enter spring training as the Yankees' primary catcher. Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are expected to compete for a reserve role.

Cashman said earlier this week that Posada would only catch in emergency situations. The fiery veteran said on Saturday that he didn't question Cashman's decision back in November.

"I can't complain. I like to catch, I always like to catch," he said. "I'm used to catching but if they want me to be a DH to help out the team, you have to do that."

Posada batted only .248 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs in 120 games during an injury-plagued 2010. He caught 83 games last season, was DH 28 games and played first base once.

Posada hit just .245 in 102 at-bats as a designated hitter but said on Saturday that his mental approach at the plate will be different because he knows he's the full-time DH. He said switching between DH and catcher in past seasons has been a "struggle."

The 39-year-old underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in early November. He said Saturday night that his knee was "100 percent" healthy and indicated that he wouldn't be limited by any pain in his knee entering spring training.

Posada, a switch-hitter, will work with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long on Monday, Tuesday and possibly Wednesday in Miami to prepare his stroke for the final year of the four-year, $52 million contract he signed after the 2007 season.

He said that if he stays healthy, he would like to continue playing in 2012.

"I don't know what's going to happen this year," Posada said. "I don't know; I would like to keep my doors open. ... If I feel good and I feel that I can do it and [a] having fun, I would love to keep going. I love playing the game and I just hope that everything stays healthy."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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