Posada won't need in-season surgery
Doctors agree on rest for Yankees catcher's right shoulder
NEW YORK -- Jorge Posada heard the best words he possibly could have on Friday, but it was tempered by an order that he not pick up a bat or throw a ball for at least the next two weeks.
With the Yankees hungry for offense and missing two of their key lineup components, that diagnosis was bittersweet for Posada, who hit the disabled list with a strained right shoulder on Monday -- the first DL assignment of his career.
A trio of doctors all examined Posada's MRI films and have agreed that the 36-year-old catcher will be able to avoid surgery at least until the end of the season.
"Same old, same old," Posada said. "I got the last of the news today, and it has all been the same. All of the doctors agree that it just needs rest and to get the shoulder strong."
The final diagnosis Posada had been waiting on came from Reds team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek, with word coming a day late because Posada's MRIs were apparently lost in the mail.
Dr. James Andrews, who examined Posada in Alabama on Monday, and Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek both agreed that Posada showed rotator cuff inflammation and tendinitis in his weak throwing shoulder, but both were satisfied that Posada's labrum had not been noticeably worsened by returning to catching duty this season.
Posada had said that the shoulder did not hurt when he hit, only when he threw. He was listed as the Yankees' starting catcher at Cleveland on Sunday but asked out of the lineup 12 minutes before first pitch, unable to put velocity on his throws.
Posada's MRIs from this week were compared to those taken when he passed his Yankees physical after signing a four-year, $52.4 million contact as a free agent this past offseason, he said.
While Posada will avoid the knife for now, surgery looms as a possibility after the year.
"I thought I was going to have to get surgery," Posada said. "We'll look at that option probably after the season."
The plan now for Posada is to be idle for two weeks -- no hitting, no throwing and treatment with rest, heat and ice -- before being reevaluated by Yankees team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon.
If all is well, Posada will begin a program in which he would strengthen his shoulder and arm by resuming throwing, and then he could play in Minor League rehabilitation games to build stamina on his way back to New York.
"I won't know how it feels until I start throwing," Posada said.
The process could take as little as five weeks, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. Girardi added that it is possible Posada could start out at the big league level as a designated hitter, but the team will be careful to avoid any setbacks.
"We're trying to get through the first two weeks," Girardi said.
With Posada and defending American League Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup, the Yankees are continuing their schedule with two dependable bats that produced a combined 74 home runs and 246 RBIs in 2007 relegated to bench cheerleaders for the immediate future.
"It's tough to see, it really is," Posada said. "There's not much I can do. I try to be there for the guys and try to pump them up and get them to look forward to the next day."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.