Yankees Shouldn't Hurry to Get Jorge Posada Behind the Plate

No need to rush Posada out of designated hitter role

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Jorge Posada did his first round of catching drills since coming off of the disabled list on Tuesday, something that signals the team's intention to start moving him back behind the plate as soon as he's ready.

    It's probably an inevitable move, but that doesn't make it the right one.

    Posada's credentials as a starting catcher shouldn't need any retelling at this point in his career other than to say that the above statement has little to do with Posada's fitness for duty behind the plate. He'd be just fine back there, just as he's always been, but this isn't even really about Posada. 

    It is about what's best for the Yankees as a whole at this point in time and that isn't having Posada as the everyday starting catcher.

    When Posada is the starting catcher it means, at minimum, one day a week where you are subtracting his bat from the lineup. That's easy enough to stomach when you've got strong hitters at every other spot, but not when your other designated hitter options are players like Juan Miranda, Kevin Russo and Marcus Thames. You'd choose Posada over each of them and only Thames is a better hitter than Francisco Cervelli.

    This year's Yankee team hasn't yet shown that the offense is going to be strong enough to cede a spot in the lineup like that every night.

    But, you say, wouldn't DHing Posada and keeping Cervelli behind the plate cause the same hole in the lineup? It's true, Cervelli's last month has proven that his first few weeks as a hitting situation were a fluky hot stretch that isn't indicative of his real ability. He still boosts the team defensively, howver, which isn't something that will happen with the other DH candidates. It also doesn't happen if Miranda, Russo or Ramiro Pena plays the field to give one of the other regulars a day off. 

    These issues more or less balance themselves out. The biggest reason why moving Posada behind the plate is something not to be treated as an inevitably is Posada's health.

    He's shown over the last three years that regular catching duties aren't something that he's physically capable of doing without missing big chunks of time thanks to injury.

    Designated hitting is much lighter on his body, something you can see just from watching him run these days compared to when he was donning the tools of ignorance, and that has to be factored into whatever happens next. 

    Posada's bat is vital to everything the Yankees want to do this season. Unless a better option at DH joins the team, they don't need to have him behind the plate to keep that bat in the lineup.    

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.