Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees

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.

Johnny Monell signs with KBO’s KT Wiz

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06:  Johnny Monell #19 of the New York Mets runs back to the dugout after he scored in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.

Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.

The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.