Posada, Girardi at impasse on return

Posada, Girardi at impasse on return

BALTIMORE -- A potentially uncomfortable situation is brewing in the Yankees' clubhouse, where the team's longtime catcher contends that he's sufficiently recovered from a strained right shoulder and can play, while an ex-catcher-turned-manager believes otherwise.

Catcher Jorge Posada and manager Joe Girardi are at loggerheads as to when Posada, whose throwing has been restricted his injury, can return behind the plate. The impasse could be decided as soon as Sunday -- when the Yankees close a three-game weekend series at Camden Yards -- or it could follow the Bronx Bombers to Chicago, where they will begin a trio of games on Tuesday night.

Posada insists that he's ready to return to his customary role as the Yankees' backstop. Girardi said he was waiting for Posada to come to him and tell him that his strained shoulder was ready; Posada said he's been doing that "every day" and that he could have played on Saturday night.

"The last time we were home, I let some balls go," Posada said. "The arm is getting stronger. ... I can't lie to you guys -- I'm not there yet, but I'm getting close. A day off [Friday], throw a little bit [Saturday] and a day off Monday, I think we're on the right track. We'll see."

Girardi, who played Posada at first base in Saturday's loss, doesn't seem convinced. He's sure there's enough arm strength to handle infield throws. Catching a potential base stealer at second? Girardi's not so certain.

"I don't have a problem with him making that throw [to second]," the manager said. "I don't have a problem throwing across the diamond. There's plenty [of arm] there for that. But for me, there's not enough to be behind the plate."

Posada will toe the company line and do what he's told, play where he's needed. But he made it clear that he considers himself a catcher -- now and for the remainder of the four-year, $52.4 million contract he signed in November that will keep him in pinstripes through 2011.

"I want to think I can catch for four years -- that's why I signed the contract," Posada said. "I take a lot of pride in what I've been doing. I think I can do it. I don't think there's any question I can do it."

Posada fully expects opponents to test his arm as soon as he returns behind the plate. That's why he insists he would never return at less than 100 percent.

"They're going to know I'm back there and know what's going on with my shoulder," Posada said. "They know that and Girardi knows that. I don't want to hurt the team. I don't want people running up and down on me. You know I take a lot of pride in throwing some guys out."

Girardi doesn't sound like he'll make Posada happy when he makes out his Sunday lineup.

"We'll see -- I'm not leaning toward [Posada catching]," Girardi said. "But we'll see."

Pitching matchup
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-1, 3.38 ERA)
Pettitte has dominated the Orioles in his career, going 22-6 overall and 13-4 at Camden Yards.

BAL: RHP Steve Trachsel (1-2, 5.65 ERA)
As if the prospect of rainy weather weren't enough, the struggling Yankees hitters will need to contend with Trachsel's slow, methodical pace.

Pettitte returned to the Yankees on Saturday after returning to Texas to attend a family funeral. ... Outfielder Bobby Abreu's eight-game hitting streak ended on Saturday when he flied out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. ... Shortstop Derek Jeter has 122 hits at Camden Yards, more than any other opposing player, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Teammate Johnny Damon is second with 108, and ex-Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams is third with 103. ... Before Saturday night, the Yankees were last shut out by the Orioles on Aug. 14, 2007, in a 12-0 whitewashing in New York.

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Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 3-0, 3.81) at White Sox (Jose Contreras, 1-1, 4.34), 8:11 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Yankees (Mike Mussina, 1-3, 5.75) at White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 3-1, 3.20), 8:11 p.m. ET

Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.