With a solid backup in Francisco Cervelli and an elite prospect in 20-year-old Jesus Montero there’s been a lot of speculation about how the Yankees will divvy up playing time at catcher next season and beyond, but Jorge Posada told Christian Red of the New York Daily News that he expects to remain the starter:
I’m going to prepare for [the starting catching job]. I love catching, love being behind the plate. I take a lot of pride, that’s my position. If they want me to be DH or catch, just be honest and let me know what’s up.
Red notes that Posada was behind the plate for just 83 of his 120 games this season and a similar split makes sense for 2011, when he’ll be finishing up a four-year, $52 million contract at age 39. Posada continues to be a major asset offensively, posting an .811 OPS that ranked seventh among all players who started at least 75 games at catcher, but his defense has become a major liability.
Of course, while everyone seems to love Montero’s potential offensively few people are convinced that he has the defensive skills to stick behind the plate long term, let alone take on significant innings at catcher in the majors as a 21-year-old.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.