Posada returns and Yanks take Orioles again behind Hughes

New York  – Prior to the game the New York Yankees reactivated catcher Jorge Posada from the disabled list who missed the last 15 games with a fractured right foot.  But the Yankees, hindered by injuries, and leading the American League in scoring did not need Posada’s bat Wednesday evening in the Bronx.

It was the continued strong pitching of starter Phil Hughes, and the consistent hitting of Robinson Cano that also continued, as the Yankees with four runs in the second inning never looked back and took the second game of a three-game series over the Baltimore Orioles 9-1.

Posada would reach base twice, drawing a walk and getting a single in the fifth. For the moment manager Joe Girardi has placed Posada in the designated hitter spot which posed the question:  Has Posada seen his last days as a catcher, or will he, return behind the plate when the doctors feel his foot has completely heeled?

“I would like George to catch again, I want him to catch again,” emphasized the Yankees manager. “I believe George has a lot of catching left.” In the meantime Posada has accepted his return to the lineup as a DH and it could be a permanent spot with Nick Johnson also disabled for the long run.

Girardi also likes to rotate that role with his lineup and having Posada’s bat back in the lineup is important, and as Girardi said, “We will do what we have to,” regarding keeping Posada healthy.

In the Yankees four-run second inning Posada had no trouble scoring from first on another two- run double from the hot bat of Robinson Cano who extended his American League high hitting streak to 16 games. Cano also hit a two-run home run, his 12th of the season in the seventh inning and is batting .471 since May 17th.

“Robbie has unbelievable hitting mechanics,” said Girardi about Cano. “When he hits the ball hard things happen,” he said about his second baseman who has evolved into one of the premier hitters in baseball.

Phil Hughes pitched seven innings, on six hits, striking out seven improving to 7-1. He admitted his curve was not effective but everything else was. Hughes has now held opponents with two earned runs or less in eight of his 10 starts this season.

“He’s been so, so good for us,” said Girardi about Hughes, one four pitches with most wins in the AL.  “He’s doing so many things right.” And if the pitching staff for the AL All-Star team was to be announced today, a team that Girardi will manage in July, Hughes according to Girardi would be on the team.

Prior to the game, Posada did not rule out catching again. He has been a good mentor to Francisco Cervelli who has done a bulk of the catching in his absence.  It was the fourth time in the last two years that he has been disabled.

“Tough to be a DH, it’s not an easy thing to do,” said Posada who commented afterwards that he wanted to test his foot and speed immediately when he got on base in the second inning. “Everything was fine. I’m in the lineup, that’s what matters,” he said.

And Girardi had nothing but praise for his veteran catcher. “Guy coming off a foot injury his first game back had to score from first,” he said. But is this role Posada will accept as the Yankees depend on his bat, realizing the veteran catcher is also 38- years of age.

“I’m going to do what is best for this organization,” commented Girardi when pressed about the issue regarding Posada. In the meantime, the Yankees go for the three-game sweep and fifth straight win Thursday afternoon in the Bronx with CC Sabathia (4-3) on the mound.

E=mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

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