It’s been exactly 12 years since Jorge Posada started a game as the Yankees No. 9 hitter. In a you-can’t-make-this-up coincidence, Posada hit ninth on May 14, 1999 against the White Sox and had not been at the bottom of a starting lineup since.
“I put myself in this spot,” he said. “It’s not like I want to hit ninth, and it’s not like I want to hit .100-and-whatever I’m hitting. It’s just a matter of really coming out of it.”
Joe Girardi said he’d been thinking about making this sort of move for a couple of days. Most of the Yankees regulars have been inconsistent, with stretches of good and bad. Posada and Nick Swisher have been cold pretty much the whole way. Girardi said it was the emergence of Gardner that finally prompted him to make the change, moving two guys up and moving two guys down.
“When Gardy was struggling we dropped him down and it worked,” Girardi said. “We’re doing the same thing.”
Fair enough, but moving Posada into the ninth spot is obviously going to generate a lot more attention than Gardner. Posada’s a borderline Hall of Famer, who throughout his career has been a middle-of-the-order run producer. Girardi acknowledged that it’s harder to make this sort of decision with that sort of player.
The even harder decision comes if Posada is still not producing a few weeks from now. How much longer can Girardi stick with this sort of production from his designated hitter?
“Our hope is that he gets going and we don’t have to cross that bridge,” Girardi said. “That’s my thought process. You don’t necessarily think that a guy’s not going to be able to do it who’s done it for so long in his career. He’s struggled more right-handed than left-handed. His at-bats left-handed have been better, but we just felt it was time to make that change.”
Said Posada: “I’ve felt a lot better since Detroit. I don’t feel like I’m in a slump. I feel like I’m feeling a lot better at the plate. My average is not what it’s supposed to be, and I understand that, but I think my at-bats are a lot better and I feel a lot better at the plate. The only way I’m coming out of hitting ninth is just producing.”
Here’s Posada’s pregame interview.
And here’s Girardi’s.
• Girardi said he would have to check with Rafael Soriano after batting practice to make sure he was available tonight. Batting practice is going on now. I doubt we’ll know whether Soriano’s available until we either see him or don’t see him in a setup situation.
• Swisher’s lack of production has stayed a little bit below the radar, constantly overshadowed by either Posada, Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, but he’s really struggled this year as well. “He did hit a double the other way (last night), and when Swish is going well he sprays the ball all over the outfield,” Girardi said. “Maybe that’s the hit that gets him going.”
• No roster move today. Amauri Sanit and Hector Noesi are both still here.
• Carlos Silva is scheduled to throw 80-85 pitches for Trenton tonight.
• Speaking of Trenton, head over to Mike Ashmore’s blog to check out the Slade Heathcott brawl. Yowza!
• Is that how you spell yowza? Is it even a word?
• I had some questions this morning about why Jesus Montero was pulled after just one at-bat last night. It doesn’t seem to be in preparation for any sort of call-up. He was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Ortiz DH
Jed Lowrie SS
Mike Cameron RF
Carl Crawford LF
Jason Varitek C
Associated Press photos