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Should Jorge Posada have batted ninth?

May 15, 2011, 3:47 PM EDT

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Joe Girardi, Jorge Posada

By Ben Chew: The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees renewed their rivalry this week in the Bronx, but the story of the day wasn’t played out on the field; it happened before Saturday’s nationally televised game.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked Yankee catcher Jorge Posada if he would bat ninth, followed by Posada removing himself from the lineup before the game. But it gets confusing as to how it happened exactly: Posada said that he wanted a day off due to back stiffness and that Girardi honored his request. But Jack Curry of YES Network quoted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman saying that Posada was not pleased with being dropped to ninth and allegedly “threw a hissy fit about it.”

Posada, a 16-year veteran with the Yankees, is hitting a paltry .165 and appears to be heading towards retirement in the near future. However, the real question that many people are asking is, “Should Jorge have just batted ninth in the Yankees starting lineup on that day?”

It’s not strange for players to ask for days off in baseball or even take weeks off to heal small injuries. So, I give Jorge the benefit of the doubt, if his back was really hurting him. However, it seems odd that Cashman would fabricate his story entirely since there’s not much gain from of it. Sure, there’s the possibility that Cashman made up the event to motivate Posada or give the Yankees a reason to drop him from the team if he doesn’t improve this season but I highly doubt it.

In sports, we criticize players for putting themselves before the team but someone like Posada who has been with the Yankees for his entire career has already shown his dedication to the Yankees and we shouldn’t criticize him for not playing in one game of an 162 -game season. Should he have played? Yes, he should have but I’m not going to fault him for one day that he chose not too.

For those of you thinking, this is just another high profile athlete complaining about playing time, you might be right; but consider Posada’s mindset at this time. The Yankees bring in another catcher, Russell Martin, to take over for you on a everyday basis and then ask you to drop to ninth in the lineup since you’re not playing well, with the possibility that they might take you out of the starting lineup altogether if you don’t shape up. It’s just like the new guy that the boss brings in to take over your job; aren’t you going to be a little bit hesitant to want to go the extra mile if the company is going to replace you anyway?

In baseball, we celebrated Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive game streak because he was always there doing his job. However in the same breath we shouldn’t throw Jorge Posada under the bus because of the one day that he didn’t.

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Posada throws fit about batting ninth [WasWatching.com]