Monday, May 23, 2005

Jorge Posada, Another Classy Yankee

He once spit on an umpire. He once had a tiff with Tino and stopped speaking to the guy for a few months (see Olney's book). And unlike his Boston counterpart Jason Varitek, Georgie sure isn't captain material. And he proved it once again this weekend, as Peter Botte of the Daily News reports (and notice the contrast between Tino and Posada in this article). With players like these on the team, it's not surprising that the Junkees haven't won since 2000.

Baseball players usually are careful not to point fingers at their teammates, particularly their superstar ones.
But Jorge Posada singled out Randy Johnson for not covering home on Dae-Sung Koo's wild romp down the third base line in the seventh inning, a key and embarrassing microcosm of the Yankees' 7-1 loss yesterday to the Mets at Shea.
"Obviously, Randy has got to be at the plate," Posada said. "When I looked back and saw he wasn't there, I tried to get back as fast as I could."
Johnson remained on the mound while Posada's momentum carried him to first base after he threw out Jose Reyes on a sacrifice bunt attempt, with second baseman Robinson Cano at the bag. With no one covering the plate, Koo - who'd just roped a double off Johnson for his first major-league hit - scored all the way from second with a belly-flop slide for a 3-0 lead. The Korean reliever was called safe at home despite television replays showing a diving Posada tagging him out before Koo's hand touched the plate.
"I still thought he was out," Posada said. "But that's Randy's play. I had to rush just to get back there."
First baseman Tino Martinez attempted to deflect blame from Johnson, suggesting "it should've been my play" to cover home after charging the bunt. Johnson's only response was that he was "in that area" and that "it all happened so quickly," before praising Posada for doing "the best he could."
But Posada's remarks seemed to be indicative of the evolving - but not entirely smooth - pitcher-catcher relationship between the two All-Stars. In addition to his comments regarding that specific play, Posada also repeatedly offered vague responses such as "go ask him" and "I have no idea" to questions about Johnson's inconsistent performance (3.94 ERA) this season.
"I don't know, I'm making suggestions out there," Posada said. "I'm just trying to get him through the game, but it seems like his location just is not there right now."
Posada also said he "didn't notice any difference" in velocity or in Johnson's release point, which Joe Torre cited as a possible reason for the Mets stroking 12 hits off the Big Unit in his 6 2/3 innings of work.
Posada, who said he was cleated in the armpit after tagging Koo at the plate, received treatment for an injury to his right shoulder after the game.

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