NEW YORK (AP) – Jorge Posada was not in the New York Yankees’ lineup Sunday night for their series finale against Boston, one day after the slumping star asked to sit out and ended up in a messy public spat with management.
Regardless of the strange saga that played out Saturday, manager Joe Girardi might have been planning to put Posada on the bench. The switch-hitter is 0 for 24 against left-handed pitchers this season, and the Yankees were set to face Red Sox lefty Jon Lester.
Before batting practice Saturday — when Posada was still slated to hit ninth against right-hander Josh Beckett — Girardi wouldn’t commit to staying with Posada against lefties.
Andruw Jones was listed as the designated hitter Sunday night. Posada was in the clubhouse at Yankee Stadium and set to take batting practice with the backups.
Posada and Girardi had not yet met with reporters.
Hitting .165 this season and struggling to adapt to his new role as DH, the 39-year-old Posada was dropped to the No. 9 spot in the original lineup Saturday. A proud veteran and respected clubhouse leader, he said he put himself in that position and understood the move.
But about an hour before the game, Posada went into Girardi’s office and requested that he be removed from the lineup. The five-time All-Star said he needed a night off to clear his head.
After the game, Posada said his back had stiffened up while taking practice grounders at first base, but also acknowledged that he feels “a little bit” disrespected by the team.
That’s where it got complicated, though.
Posada never mentioned to Girardi or general manager Brian Cashman that his back was bothering him. And the Yankees weren’t pleased that he didn’t play.
A person familiar with the discussion between Posada and the team told The Associated Press that he “refused” to play. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the situation was still not settled.
The person said the Yankees have been in contact with the commissioner’s office about possible recourse. The Yankees could fine Posada one day’s pay — that would be $71,978 on his $13.1 million salary. If a player declines to play two days in a row, he could be put on the restricted list.
“Where he hits in the lineup is irrelevant. This is about his back, not about where he’s hitting,” one of Posada’s agents, Sam Levinson, said Saturday night.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)