Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
What to Do?
2008-04-10 09:13
by Alex Belth

Thanks to Repoz, I caught Steve Goldman's NY Sun column today about Jorge Posada:

In Posada's injury there have been disturbing implications that Girardi could reside among the group of blinkered skippers. Posada's shoulder strain, which apparently will not force him to the disabled list, was said to interfere with his throwing, not his hitting. The possibility existed, then, that even if the injury prevented him from getting behind the plate for an extended period of time, he would still be able to swing the bat as the designated hitter.

Girardi apparently rejected this suggestion, not wanting to remove Hideki Matsui from his DH role. By extension, this also means that he did not want to move Matsui to left field (a position he has proved healthy enough to play) and bench Johnny Damon. This would have been a tremendous misjudgment. In his career, Damon has rarely been much more than a slightly above-average hitter at the best of times, and a below-average hitter at his worst — and the minimum contribution expected from his bat has only risen as Damon has shifted to left field, more of a power position than center. Last year, major-league left fielders batted .277 AVG/.347 OBA/.453 SLG. The year before they hit .278/.354/.464.

It is doubtful that Damon's hitting will rise to that level. It did not last year, it has not over the course of his career, and it has not during the present season. Posada, however, should reach those numbers with ease, though he is older and unlikely to repeat last year's .338 batting average. A .277/.380/.478 hitter, he is more likely to come closer in failing to reach them than Damon. The Yankees would also gain an additional benefit from shifting Damon to the bench, adding the pinch runner and outfield substitute they are lacking.

What do you think?

2008-04-10 09:50:16
1.   rbj
For defensive purposes I'd rather see Damon in LF than Matsui. It seems like Hideki doesn't get as good a read on the balls.
2008-04-10 09:51:17
2.   Cliff Corcoran
My reaction to that is that Steve's trotting out one of his old warhorses in answer to a short-term problem. Long term, he might have a point, but short term, Posada wasn't swinging the bat well before the injury and Damon is a considerable upgrade in left field (he likely would have had that ball that went over Matsui's head yesterday). Posada will get well at the plate eventually, but likely not before he's ready to catch again, and to me it's not worth losing Damon's defense. Also, while Jorge "can" hit with the bum shoulder, I'm sure he'll heal faster if he doesn't place any strain at it, be it behind or at the plate.
2008-04-10 09:54:07
3.   standuptriple
I think there are still some private concerns about Matsui's health/range. At least I hope that's the reasoning.
2008-04-10 11:05:01
4.   Rob Middletown CT
Will Carroll's writeup on Posada's injury claims that Po can't swing properly either. If that's the case, then this whole line of reasoning doesn't work.

The mistake was using Damon as DH and Matsui as LF, not failing to DH Posada.

2008-04-10 11:31:42
5.   Rob Middletown CT
Updated UTK:

Derek Jeter:

"...Jeter has a mild quad strain. The location is high and medial, near where many might call it a groin injury, but the images did show that it's a small, Grade I+ tear in his quad... The question now isn't whether Jeter could come back by the weekend, but whether the Yankees will be conservative with a five-to-seven day injury by putting him on the 15-day DL.

Jorge Posada:

The news for Jorge Posada is a little better than expected after images showed a strained shoulder. It wasn't, as some reports had, a rotator cuff tear, but a simple strain of one of the larger muscles, though sources are conflicted on which one it actually is. He'll avoid the DL, which is a surprise and a shift from Joe Girardi's history with the Marlins, telling us that the roster moves might not be his call (or that it was Florida GM Larry Beinfest who was more conservative. It's hard to tell.)

Both Posada and Jeter appear to be out for the weekend series with the Red Sox."

Big exhale about Posada. Phew. Still, the team looks to be shorthanded up in Beantown.

2008-04-10 11:40:39
6.   Schteeve
I would much rather be without Jeter and Po in April than August or Sept.

On that note, no matter how bad the record gets, I hope these injuries are allowed to heal fully before these guy get back on the field.

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