Jorge has a big day

Counting down to Spring Training
Camden Depot's Top 20 Yankees Prospects

One of the keys to the Yankees offense in 2009 will be the recovery of Jorge Posada. We saw last year just how much the team misses him when he’s out of the lineup, and adding even the 2006 version of his bat to the already powerful lineup can make a huge difference in how the season plays out. He’s coming back from major shoulder surgery, so his ability to stick behind the plate all season, or even for 100 games, has come into question. Thankfully, it appears he’s progressing nicely.

He made 140 throws yesterday, backing up to incrementally increase the distance. That sounds like a good number of tosses for a guy who had his labrum repaired in late July. It might not give us an indication of whether he’ll be ready to squat behind the plate on Opening Day, but at least we know he’s making these throws with few, if any, complications.

“I feel good,” he said about an hour after completing the exercise and taking batting practice with fellow early campers Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner. “I’m coming along. Every time I throw, I feel good. I’m improving every time I throw, so that’s always good.”

As Jorge notes, improvement is certainly the key here. Brian Cashman has already said that Posada won’t be available to catch at the start of Spring Training, which is fine so long as he’s building up strength in the shoulder. As he gets better he’ll get closer to being game-ready. That’s all we can really ask at this point in his rehab. His answer to the question of being ready for April 6, “I think so,” might not inspire a ton of confidence, but news on his progress does, at least for me. It can’t be easy to come back from shoulder surgery, so I’m just glad Jorge’s on the field.

Counting down to Spring Training
Camden Depot's Top 20 Yankees Prospects
  • Johnny

    I know it was a major surgery, but modern medicine is ridiculous. I have to think that at some point his health will be %100, so he should perform.

    • UNION YES.

      As ridiculous as modern medicine is, there is no cure for the common cold and I have a cold. Anyone ever try kambucha?

  • Dave

    Jorge just signed a contract one year ago and he has quite some time left on that deal. You better believe he will do anything within his power to get back out on that field – shoulder surgery is tough im sure but plenty of players and even players around posadas age have come back and played. I knew this contract was far too many years when we signed it but he should at least have one more year left in him at catcher. If he doesnt, that contract is going to look pretty terrible.

  • A.D.

    Steps in the right direction.

    Nice that BG headed down early to compete for CF.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      True. Also interesting, though, to hear Cashman imply to Pete Abe (as per the linked piece from yesterday’s Joba thread) that the inside track may go to Melky and not BG…

      There are high hopes for Melky Cabera to reclaim center field. “Melky played well in winter ball and he has to show the competitiveness to put last season behind him,” Cashman said. “The good ones always find a way.”
      Cashman also stressed it was a competition and that Brett Gardner will get a long look. They want Austin Jackson to stay in the minors.

      http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2009/02/09/meanwhile-back-on-the-diamond/

      • radnom

        Melky always had the inside track, everywhere but the internet.

        I would guess theres 55% chance Melky breaks camp in CF, 45% Gardner.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Meh, I’d say the opposite: 55% Gardner’s the opening day CF, 45% it’s Melky.

          I think, even though Melky had a decent winter-ball campaign, right now it’s probably a wash between them at the plate (at least, OBP wise) but what Gardner lacks in power he makes up for in speed and more than makes up for in defense.

          • radnom

            Cashman’s comments clearly indicate otherwise.

            I think the team has more faith in Melky’s potential at the plate than Gardner’s, but its basically a crap shoot for who has the better spring. The established MLBer always gets the slight edge though.

            • steve (different one)

              Gardner has options.

              that’s most of it.

              • radnom

                That too. Doesn’t Melky have one though? You can’t use more than one a season, so even if he has one left he could be sent up/down as many times as desired this year.

          • pat

            Agreed. If they were to both able to get on base at the same clip I’d take gardner raising hell on the basepaths compared to melk occasionally running into a HR. Interesting hypothetical though: At what point would melky’s power become more valuable than gardners SB’s? I’d put it at around 16 or 17 homers.
            The more I think about it though there must be a mathematical formula to figure it out like X amount of stolen bases equals Y amount of runs created, Z amount of homeruns equals Q amount of runs. Somebody smarter than me has probably figured that out already.

            • steve (different one)

              using linear weights, if Gardner steals 60 bases and gets caught 10 times, that’s worth about 9.4 runs.

              which translates to 6.7 HRs.

              • pat

                Ah ok perfect thanks steve. So gardner would have to steal a sh*tload of bags to try and equal the runs produced by a few dingers from the melkman. Interesting.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  So gardner would have to steal a sh*tload of bags to try and equal the runs produced by a few dingers from the melkman.

                  Assuming, of course, that all other categories are ties. Like defense and OBP. (I’m sure they won’t be.)

                  If Melky hits 10 homers (a tall order for him), he’s more valuable than Gardner stealing 60 bases. But if Melky hits ten homers with a .320 OBP and slightly above average CF defense and Gardner steals 60 bases (not all that tall of an order for him) with a .340 OBP and excellent CF defense, I’d probably take Gardner over Melky.

                • Ryan S.

                  To add to your point, once he is on the bases, Gardner’s speed also brings about some of those damn intangibles that advanced statistics just hate. Getting from first to third on a single to left field, being a factor that the pitcher has to account for when he’s on first or second base, he’ll having a higher chance of moving up a base (or scoring) on a fly ball … stuff like that.

      • steve (different one)

        i said this when it was posted that Melky was out of options:

        being out of options is going to give Melky the inside track.

        that’s just being practical.

        Gardner will have to be CLEARLY better in ST to win the job.

        but if Melky doesn’t perform, he’ll be DFA’ed and Gardner will be called up.

        i’m really hoping the trimmer Swisher shows he can play CF.

        • Joe R

          He can play CF, but he doesnt like to. Thats why he’s a last option.

          • steve (different one)

            i bet he likes playing CF more than “not playing”.

            Swisher isn’t dumb, if he plays CF, he’s going to play every day.

            if he is a RFer, he’s only going to play 120 games or so.

            i don’t think the Yankees view him as a CFer, so this is probably moot, but if you were preparing to play RF all year, why drop all that weight?

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Nor does he play it all that well.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          … unless we decide to keep them both on the roster. If we carry 12 pitchers (5 man rotation + 7 man pen) that leaves 13 spots for the offense, and I’d say that our depth chart is as follows:

          1.) Starting 3B ARod
          2.) Starting SS Jeter
          3.) Starting 1B Tex
          4.) Starting 2B Cano
          5.) Starting LF Damon
          6.) Starting C Posada
          7.) Starting DH Matsui
          8.) Starting RF Swisher OR Nady
          9.) 4th OF Nady OR Swisher
          10.) Backup C Molina
          11.) Primary Backup 2B/3B/SS Ransom OR Berroa
          12.) Starting CF Melky OR Gardner
          13.) Backup CF/5th OF Gardner OR Melky
          ———————————————-
          14.) Secondary Backup 2B/3B/SS Berroa OR Ransom
          15.) Backup 1B/DH Miranda
          16.) Backup 1B/DH Duncan
          17.) Backup C Pillitere

          Unless both Berroa AND Ransom look good this spring (doubtful) or we bring in a new NRI like Grudzielanek who impresses (possible), the loser of the Melky/Gardner battle is still probably the 13th best player in our system, IMO.

          • steve (different one)

            perhaps, i guess i was just assuming they would rather have Gardner getting ABs in AAA than riding the pine in the bigs.

            but you could be right.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I see it like this: we’ve got four bench spots:
              Backup catcher: Molina
              Backup infielder: Ransom
              Backup corner outfielder: loser of the Nady/Swisher battle
              Backup centerfielder: loser of the Melky/Gardner battle

              I’d love to have only one outfielder on the bench, but Nady can’t play CF so he’s not really a true backup outfielder, and I’d love to have two utility infielders instead of just one but I don’t see Berroa truly adding more value than either Gardner or Melky. And yeah, it’s not a particularly hard hitting bench, but what can you do? I’m sure Miranda or Shelly could outhit the loser of the Melky/Gardner battle, but neither of them really have any use for us since they play positions we’re already swamped in.

              At this point, what more is truly gained by leaving Brett Gardner at AAA? He’s not Hughes/Kennedy working on mechanics/improving his repertoire/gaining confidence. He’s basically what he’s going to be: a slap hitting Brett Butler/Ichiro clone who battles to get on by hook or by crook and then steals his way to second. I’m all for developing players, but I don’t think we need to keep him in Scranton for more “seasoning” if he doesn’t win the everyday job. If Melky beats him out, let him stay with the big club, pinch hit, pinch run (and steal), be a late inning defensive replacement, and get spot starts when we want to rest Damon (or if/when Melky has a cold-streak).

              • radnom

                I’d love to have only one outfielder on the bench, but Nady can’t play CF so he’s not really a true backup outfielder

                Damon is the backup CF in this case with Gardner just a phonecall away.
                There really isn’t a better IF backup option though, so I would agree that we should just have them both up, but its not a necessity.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Actually, now that I think about, it, I’m going to amend it:

                  Four bench spots:
                  Backup defensive catcher (C) : Molina
                  Backup defensive infielder (2B/3B/SS): Ransom
                  Backup defensive outfielder (RF/CF/LF): loser of the Melky/Gardner battle
                  Pinch hitter/backup offensive player (RF/LF/1B/DH): loser of the Nady/Swisher battle

                  That’s more accurate, and out of those four, we’ve got every position on the field covered.

                • jsbrendog

                  ii like that.

          • Ryan S.

            This makes sense to me. I already figured in my head we’d end up keeping both Melky and Gardner. I feel like we only need one utility IF guy since all of our main infielders should be good for anywhere between 150-160 games played each.

    • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

      Good call on Gardner showing up early; that’s good to see.

      I’d like to see him beat Melky out for the simple reason that it would be nice to have some blazing speed in an otherwise “slow” lineup.

    • Ryan S.

      Looks like Nick Swisher may have headed to ST early for that same exact reason – getting an early start on his competition with Nady for RF.

      I really don’t care who gets the starting CF job between Melky and Gardner (though if I was a betting man, I’d put money on Melky to win it), I just hope either one can put up a better line than what was done last year. I’ll be more than happy with above average defense and a .330 OBP from our #9 hitter … is that too much to ask for?

  • Macphisto

    “His answer to the question of being ready for April 6, “I think so,” might not inspire a ton of confidence”
    Nor did his answer when asked yesterday if he was worried if his name might show up on the list when he said “I hope not”. Can’t wait to hear the first crack of the bat. Jonesing for it.

    • UNION YES.

      Did Jorge laugh as he answered “I hope not.” I can’t put too much into those words without hearing it in its true context.

      • Macphisto

        You have to watch it. It was on the MLB Network special report last night.

    • steve (different one)

      “I don’t think I’ve put anything in my body that could be positive on one of those tests,” Posada said, later adding for further clarification, “I have never tested positive. My first language is Spanish. I know English, but my first language is Spanish. I have wanted to make sure I have never taken anything. I’m as clean as a whistle.”

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I have wanted to make sure I have never taken anything. I’m as clean as a whistle.”

        Except for all this urine on my hands, of course…

        • Macphisto

          This made me laugh.

          • UNION YES.

            ducha dorado

      • A.D.

        My first language is Spanish. I know English, but my first language is Spanish.

        Maybe he mistook the word reliever and actually meant starter when discussing where Joba should be.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I like this theory.

        • Stryker

          HAHAHAHA +1

  • UNION YES.

    I like his early showing too. I’ll be pulling for him.

  • MattG

    This, right here, is my favorite Yankee. Yeah, he’s not so good at some stuff, but if you asked me what Yankee made the most of his ability, I am picking this guy.

    Anytime you have a guy that moves behind the plate in his professional career, then ends up with even a sniff of a chance of “, HOF” after his name, you must have a guy that wants it.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Would you go so far as to say he’s a… “true” Yankee?

      (lights fuse, backs away from the impending explosion)

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  • Scott of 3 Kids Tickets

    At least it wasn’t personal…lol

    -Scott

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Heh.