Jorge Posada was back on the field at Yankee Stadium for the ceremonial first pitch. Only this time, he was throwing the ball instead of catching it.
Three months after announcing his retirement during an emotional news conference at the ballpark, the 40-year-old returned for several honors surrounding the home opener. He was given an award at the team's Homecoming Dinner on Thursday night and his photo was put on the cover of the current issue of Yankees Magazine.
Then he received a warm ovation from the sellout crowd of 49,386 before the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-0 in their home opener Friday.
"It wasn't difficult to come back so soon because I'm enjoying home and I'm enjoying my time, but it was difficult to come back, period," Posada said. "I was really nervous to be out there — all eyes on you, and please don't bounce it."
Wearing jeans and a dark blue Yankees windbreaker, the recently retired catcher was given a 1-minute standing before he emerged from the Yankees dugout. He then threw a soft, high pitch to his father, Jorge Posada Sr., whose brother Leo spent three seasons with the Kansas City Athletics in the 1960s.
New York had wanted Mariano Rivera to catch the pitch, but Posada insisted on his father.
"It was like old times throwing catch with him again," the younger Posada said. "I would have been super excited to have Mariano catch it, but I think it was important for me to have my dad there. ... I wouldn't have the career that I had if it wasn't for him, so I wanted to share that moment with him."
Yankees starters, standing in arc on the grass behind the mound, exchanged hugs with Posada. When the 40-year-old headed back to the dugout, he wrapped his arms around Rivera and manager Joe Girardi.
A five-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, Posada retired in January after 17 big league seasons, all with the Yankees. He had a .273 career batting average, 275 home runs and 1,065 RBIs.
While other teams expressed interest, Posada wanted to be a Yankees lifer.
"I didn't want to be another guy on another team," he said.
So instead of getting ready to head to the ballpark for afternoon batting practice, he spends time at home in Florida.
"The first thing is get up in the morning and take the kids to school. Then me and my wife, we go work out at the gym. That doesn't happen every day — for her it does," he said. "For me it's just enjoying the house and then picking up the kids."
While Posada is enjoying not getting hit by foul tips, former teammate Andy Pettitte abandoned retirement last month after a season off and is working in the minors to prepare for a return to pinstripes at 39.
"He waited one year," Posada said. "So next year you'll probably be asking me that question again