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Posada catches first bullpen session

Posada catches first bullpen session

NEW YORK -- Jorge Posada settled into a crouch on Sunday and handled a pitcher for the Yankees. It won't show up in any box score, but it represents progress.

Posada caught his first bullpen session since hitting the disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder, a significant step as he attempts to return to the Yankees' lineup at some point in June. Posada also continued his throwing program in the outfield at Yankee Stadium, getting as far as 90 feet.

If all continues as planned, Posada could begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment next week.

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"It increases -- the amount of throws and the distance," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He'll start catching some bullpens now to try to speed up the process of getting his legs back where he needs to be."

Posada has not appeared in a game since April 26 at Cleveland. He originally felt weakness in his throwing shoulder during the Yankees' April 8 game at Kansas City, and the Royals took full advantage, swiping four bases. The Yankees prescribed rest and said that Posada's velocity was fine when he returned, but it wasn't resilient enough.

"He felt really good when he came back, but he wasn't able to sustain it," Girardi said.

The Yankees have missed Posada's switch-hitting bat in the heart of their lineup. Signed to a four-year, $52.4 million deal before this season, Posada hit a career-high .338 last season. He was batting .302 with one home run and 11 RBIs when he went on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

The Yankees' other three starting catchers this season -- Jose Molina, Chad Moeller and one-game fill-in Chris Stewart -- were batting a combined .210 (25-for-119) leading into Sunday's Subway Series finale.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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