Jorge Posada asks out of lineup after Yankees drop him to ninth

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9:20 p.m. EDT: Sources told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal that Posada asked out of the lineup due to back stiffness, contradicting pretty much everything that’s come out over the last hour and a half.  Maybe there’s some truth to it, but it sounds like spin.  In speaking with reporters just before 8 p.m., GM Brian Cashman made it clear that Posada’s exit from the lineup was not injury-related.

8:45 p.m. EDT: Buster Olney tweets:

To be clear:Posada said to reporters at 4 p.m. that he understood move to 9th spot, blamed himself.At 6 pm, he told Girardi something else.

8:30 p.m. EDT: A source told YES Network’s Jack Curry that Posada told manager Joe Girardi that he was “insulted” to be batting ninth and that he went on to throw “a hissy fit.”

The Yankees are believed to be weighing docking Posada’s pay as a result of the incident.  Indications are that Posada is not leaning towards retirement.

8:00 p.m. EDT: GM Brian Cashman says Jorge Posada asked out of the lineup after being dropped to the ninth spot.   While indications were that he was fine was being dropped, obviously, it wasn’t the case.  One wonders if he might be suddenly weighing retirement.

6:40 p.m. EDT: The Yankees just scratched Posada from the lineup.  No reason was given.  Andruw Jones has replaced him as the DH and No. 9 hitter.

Early word was that Posada was OK with the switch to the ninth spot in the lineup.  He indicated that it was an appropriate move given his struggles.

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For the first time in exactly 12 years, Jorge Posada is batting out of the ninth spot.

In a 4-for-25 slump over the past 10 days, Posada was dropped to the very bottom in the Yankees lineup for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.

He last opened a game batting ninth on May 14, 1999.

Posada is hitting just .165/.272/.349 for the year. He has six homers, but the last one of them came on April 23. He’s driven in four runs in his last 16 starts.

Likely also influencing manager Joe Girardi’s decision is the fact that Posada hasn’t excelled against Red Sox starter Josh Beckett. He’s 11-for-42 with one homer and four RBI versus the right-hander, good for a 668 OPS. Most of his teammates have fared quite a bit better, as evidenced by Beckett’s career 5.90 ERA in 23 starts against the Bombers.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.