Jorge Posada apologizes after spat
NEW YORK -- A day after lifting himself from the lineup, Jorge Posada went into manager Joe Girardi's office and apologized on Sunday.
Posada also was not in the New York Yankees' starting lineup Sunday night for their series finale against Boston, one day after the slumping star's request to sit out -- after he was dropped to No. 9 in the batting order -- ended up in a messy public spat with management.
"I kind of apologized to him," Posada said Sunday before the Red Sox swept the Yankees with a 7-5 win. "I had a bad day. I had a bad day [Saturday.] Reflecting on it, everything, all the frustration came out. I'm trying to move on."
Girardi appreciated Posada's effort.
"We had a nice conversation," he said. "We talked about being emotional, and going through struggles. What defines who you are. Just a lot of things. He apologized. He said he had a bad day yesterday. And I said 'Jorge, I've had bad days too, and I've done stupid things.' I'm not saying what he did was stupid, but I did things that I wish I wouldn't have done. And you have to live with them, but it's what you do after, and you move forward.
"I know you have a passion and a love for this game. I know you want to win and you want to play forever. But the reality is we don't play forever and that you need to enjoy your career in the midst of that."
Posada also apologized to general manager Brian Cashman in a face-to-face meeting prior to the first pitch of Sunday's game.
Cashman relayed Posada's apology and all of the day's developments to team owners Hank and Hal Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine. A team spokesman said that the Yankees' hierarchy accepted Posada's apology and considered the matter to be closed.
Before batting practice Sunday, a contrite Posada calmly answered a string of questions from reporters and then went out to hit with the other backups.
He said he was healthy enough to play -- he had mentioned a stiff back after Saturday night's game, but acknowledged Sunday that even though his back was bothering him, he used it as an excuse.
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"Everything happens for a reason. You learn from it," Posada said.
Added Cashman: "Family members can have problems from time to time."
Posada and Cashman disagreed on how the news of Posada asking out of the lineup was handled. Cashman, in an in-game meeting with reporters Saturday, said that Posada had no injury. Posada, and people close to him, including his wife on Twitter and Facebook, said he had a stiff back.
"It's just one of those days that you wish you could have back," Posada said.
During batting practice on the field Sunday, Posada hugged Alex Rodriguez and chatted with other teammates. Yankees captain Derek Jeter, one of Posada's best friends, said the matter was resolved and he saw nothing wrong with what Posada did Saturday.
"From my understanding what he told you and what he told me, he said he needed a day to clear his mind and it's understandable," said Jeter.
Jeter did not think Posada needed to apologize to his teammates.
"If he said he needed a day to clear his mind there's no need to apologize because I think everyone understands that," Jeter said. "Everyone here understands that sometimes, this game can be tough on you mentally. Everybody's struggled. Everybody's been in a position where things don't seem to be clicking the right way. If that's the reason he came out, then he doesn't need to apologize. If it was something else, then yeah, but not for that."
Regardless of the strange saga that played out Saturday, Girardi might have been planning to put Posada on the bench Sunday. The switch-hitter entered the game 0-for-24 against left-handed pitchers this season, and the Yankees were set to face Red Sox lefty Jon Lester.
"[Saturday] did not factor into my lineup tonight," Girardi confirmed. "The real struggles that Jorge's had have been against left-handers. So, I decided to DH Andruw Jones today."
In Posada's place, Jones homered in his first at-bat and high-fived Posada in the dugout. Posada, however, entered as a pinch-hitter for Jones in the eighth inning, triggering a boisterous standing ovation. Posada drew a leadoff walk from hard-throwing reliever Daniel Bard but was stranded.
During the first inning of Sunday night's game, the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium saluted Posada. After they did their traditional roll call chant for each player, they ended by saying, "Jorge! Jorge! Jorge!" From the dugout, Posada waved with his left hand.
"Jorge is loved in our clubhouse. Jorge is loved by the fans. Jorge has meant a lot to this organization, and I'm not surprised," Girardi said. "This has been a great player for a long time."
Posada may be out of the lineup on Monday as well, when the Yankees are scheduled to face Tampa Bay lefty David Price.
Hitting .165 this season and struggling to adapt to his new role as DH, the 39-year-old Posada was dropped to the No. 9 spot in the original lineup Saturday. Posada had last hit in the ninth spot in the lineup on May 14, 1999. A proud veteran and respected clubhouse leader, he said he put himself in that position and understood the move.
But about an hour before the game, Posada went into Girardi's office and requested that he be removed from the lineup. The five-time All-Star said he needed a night off to clear his head.
After the game, Posada said his back had stiffened up while taking practice grounders at first base, but also acknowledged that he feels "a little bit" disrespected by the team.
That's where it got complicated, though.
Posada never mentioned to Girardi or Cashman that his back was bothering him. And the Yankees weren't pleased that he didn't play.
"The reality of it is, my job is to win today and I have to deal with that," Girardi said. "I try to show respect and I try to show sensitivity and truly care about my players, and that's the things that I have to balance, and that's not always easy. Because as I said, players always think they could still do it at the same level, or today's going to be the day that it turns around for me. If they didn't think that they wouldn't be successful in their career. ... I've told my players I'm doing what I think is best at the time."
Red Sox manager Terry Francona pointed to his relationship with slugger David Ortiz as the Fenway Park favorite struggled early last season.
"Last year we went through a tough April. It doesn't always work out the way you want. When you balance the team, personal, you want everything to mesh. It doesn't always do that. What I think is more important is not that you're not going to run into problems but how you get through them and where you go from there," Francona said. "David and I kind of had to slug it out a little in April last year. There's no getting around it. But we did get through it and got better for it. That's what you try to do."
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo and The Associated Press was used in this report.