Saturday, Jorge Posada was the DH when the Yankees played against the Twins. Posada is seven months post-labrum shoulder surgery, and has said that his rehab is progressing very well.
However, after taking some warm-up stretches in the on-deck circle on Saturday, Posada felt some "soreness" in his surgically repaired shoulder. He did manage to hit a home run and a double in his two at-bats, but then was removed from the game.
Posada was examined by the Yankees trainers and medical staff, and is now being even more closely monitored.
He said that he doesn't feel any pain when he hits or throws, but explained his soreness to Yankees' head trainer Gene Monohan as "more than the usual soreness". Posada wasn't scheduled to start catching games until the second week in March, but now that may get pushed back depending on how his shoulder responds.
Manager Joe Girardi didn't seem too alarmed, but also doesn't want to push anything so early on in the season.
On Opening Day last year, Posada was making a routine warm-up throw when he felt something in his right shoulder. The injury wasn't reported until several days later, and it took some time before Posada was shut down for a six to eight week period of time.
He returned in June, but runners took full advantage of his injury, and he became somewhat of a liability behind the plate. Jose Molina has been an excellent back up for Posada since he was traded to the Yankees in July 2007, but his bat is nowhere near Posada's. The Yankees didn't want to completely lose Posada's bat, but he couldn't be the primary DH due to Hideki Matsui's knee injury that limited him in left field.
It wasn't until the end of July that it was announced that Posada would have season ending shoulder surgery to repair his torn labrum. Since then, he's been on track to make the start at catcher on Opening Day, and until Saturday everything was going really well.
However, if Posada is feeling more than just the soreness of too much stretching, there could be cause for concern. When a ligament is repaired in the shoulder it should take a max of four months to completely heal--Posada is on month seven almost eight. If he is suffering any inflammation of that tendon than it hasn't healed properly, and that could raise a red flag for him and the Yankees.
After going 1 for 3 with an RBI against the Astros on Monday, Posada said that he hopes to resume his regular throwing program by today. The Yankees coaching and training staff are keeping a close eye on him because they know they couldn't afford another season without Posada at full capacity.
It is a good sign that he is batting over .600 this spring, but where the Yankees really need him is behind the plate, and they are hoping that what Posada is feeling is just normal soreness, and nothing else.
Hopefully, over the next couple of days Posada is able to get back on track. If not, that could spell disaster for the Yankees before the season even starts.
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