Hideki Matsui Need Not Bring His Glove to Work

Which surgically repaired labrum looms larger over the Yankee season? The one in Alex Rodriguez's hip will determine the availability of the team's best hitter, not to mention the role it plays in determining which poses he can strike in front of the closest mirror. As important as Rodriguez is, though, it may be the one in Jorge Posada's shoulder that proves more significant.

The Yankees announced Wednesday that Hideki Matsui will be limited to playing designated hitter until at least June. Since he's got two bad knees and a poor recent history of health, June could well become September. Either way, it is now all the more necessary that Posada is able to play catcher full-time. If he isn't the Yankees will lose his bat or they'll lose Matsui's, with the non-threatening stick of Jose Molina taking their place.

Lack of roster flexibility has been a problem for the Yankees for several years, but this might be their least adaptable roster ever. In addition to the pressure it puts on Posada, it means fewer chances to give Rodriguez a day off from the field. That would be nice for a guy coming off hip surgery, and it would be nice to have a place to stick Johnny Damon 10-15 times this season without losing his bat.

None of this is a surprise. In fact, it probably was wishful thinking to hope that Matsui could offer anything beyond the DH spot. It does, however, highlight some potential deficiencies with the Yankee lineup over the course of a long season.

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.

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