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Molina gets sixth straight start

Molina gets sixth straight start

PITTSBURGH-- Jose Molina was behind the plate for the Yankees for the sixth straight game on Thursday night, and Jorge Posada was not.

"Pirates starter Paul Maholm has been very tough on lefties," Yankees manager Joe Girardi explained. "It gives us an opportunity to get a lot of our right-handed bats in there. We're trying to get both right-handed bats, Molina and Posada, into the lineup because of the pitcher we're facing today."

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Posada has been hampered by rotator cuff tendinitis in his right throwing shoulder that forced him to miss 16 games earlier this season. Surgery is possible after the season.

"Posada threw today to the bases," Girardi offered. "He threw better, and it's the best his arm strength has been. ... I've said all along, it's just going to take some time and I'm very happy with the way he's throwing the ball. ... We had a day off there or it probably wouldn't have been six straight days -- so to me, it's three and three -- the day off doesn't count."

Girardi sought to defuse any controversy about Posada not catching.

"My plan is to catch Posada on Friday," Girardi stated. "He understands and he understands that he is playing a vital part. He's been a [designated hitter] for us, he's going to play first base tonight and we need Posada. He's one of the leaders on this team and he's one of the guys that's vocal about it. The importance -- just because you're not behind the plate -- doesn't change. We need you to be the same guy. He wants to catch everyday. That's what he is, and we hope to get him back to that spot."

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

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