Jorge Posada on 2012 plans: “I could catch next year”

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I wrote yesterday about Jorge Posada’s plans to continue playing next season and how that almost surely would mean leaving the Yankees, speculating that he’ll have a very hard time finding a guaranteed job because the market for 40-year-old designated hitters with .388 slugging percentages isn’t going to be pretty.

It sounds like Posada had that same realization, because last night he told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that he hasn’t given up on being a catcher even if the Yankees basically did everything possible to avoid putting him behind the plate for even spot duty this year:

I could catch next year. I could have this year. I could have been a backup this year, could have backed somebody up.

Technically he’s right, but only in the same sense that I could be, say, an underwear model. Wallace notes that he hasn’t caught a single inning all season, including spring training, and that’s because the Yankees were terrified of Posada behind the plate after watching his defensive skills deteriorate in recent years.

I’d be shocked if there’s another team out there willing to let him catch again, at age 40 and after a year off from playing the position, although in fairness the odds of that happening probably aren’t considerably lower than the odds of another team wanting him as a full-time DH.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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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.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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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.