Last season, the Yankees had to play most of the season without Jorge Posada. Posada has been the starting catcher since 1999, and his absence provided more than a spot to fill behind home plate.
Derek Jeter may be the Yankee captain, but Jorge Posada is the vocal leader of the clubhouse. Posada is a tough, grind it out type player who will get on his teammates if he feels like they are slacking.
The Yankees missed that extra fire that Posada provides last season, and they were looking forward to his presence in the line up as well as in the clubhouse.
Early on, Posada showed signs that his surgically repaired shoulder was more than healed. He was able to nail a few base runners, and was hitting for power.
Unfortunately, the Yankees had to place Posada on the 15-day DL on May 5 due to a hamstring strain, once again leaving more than just a spot to fill behind home plate.
Jose Molina is a sufficient back up as far as defense goes, but the Yankees had to place him on the DL just two days after Posada went down with a grade-two strain of his quad. The only thing for the Yankees to do was call down to AAA-Scranton for some help in the form of Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Cash.
What hurts the Yankees almost more than not having Posada in the line up is not having his voice in the clubhouse.
Posada is the guy who, in 2007, when the Yankees were fighting desperately to get into the playoffs, gave everyone in the clubhouse a t-shirt that said "Grind it out." This was Posada's rally cry for the team, and his constant reminder that no matter how bad things looked, they had to keep fighting, keep grinding out wins to make it to the postseason.
The Yankees won the AL Wild Card that year.
Since Posada went down, the Yankees went on a downward spiral. The team looked completely deflated after losing five straight, and there was no one there to provide that spark to keep the Yankees motivated.
Everyone is hoping that with the return of Alex Rodriguez, who was back in the lineup on Friday, the Yankees will get the jolt that they need.
The truth is that Alex usually causes more of a stir in the things he does rather than provide a positive jolt. And let's face it, A-Rod isn't so much of a team guy that everyone is going to rally around him in the same way that they would for Posada.
A lot of people may think that professional athletes shouldn't need any kind of spark or motivation to get them going in the right direction, but the truth is, the long season is draining and with all the ups and downs that occur over the 162-game season, even superstar athletes need a push from time to time.
Jorge Posada is the one who pushes everyone else. When the Yankees were on their championship run, those teams were all on the same page; however, the mixture of players that have come and gone since 2001 have not all been on the same page, which has affected the success of the team. That is why Posada feels the need to remind everyone exactly where they should be.
Posada is an invaluable piece to the Yankees, and hopefully he is able to return in two weeks time.
The longer Posada is absent, the worse it is for the team. The Yankees saw how Posada's absence last year affected them, and they definitely don't want to repeat that any time soon.