Yankees or not, Jorge Posada plans to play next season

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Jorge Posada is 39 years old and having the worst season of his career, getting benched as the Yankees’ designated hitter last week, but the five-time All-Star indicated yesterday that he plans to play in 2012.

And that seemingly means putting on a different uniform for the first time in 20 years, because it’s tough to imagine the Yankees bringing him back once his four-year, $52 contract runs out.

Posada was full of praise for Yankees fans after returning to the lineup Saturday with a grand slam and six RBIs, saying: “I play for them” and “the fans are a big reason why I love playing the game and especially here.”

However, he also told Mark Hale of the New York Post that he “could” consider playing elsewhere next season because “I don’t know what’s going to happen after this year … we’ll see.”

Of course, finding another team willing to give him a job could be problematic unless he finishes this season on a very strong note and that will be tough to do if manager Joe Girardi sticks with plans to keep Posada mostly on the bench. Hale notes that Posada nearly left the Yankees for the Mets as a free agent in 2008, but the deterioration of his catching skills may limit him to AL suitors at this point and teams aren’t exactly lining up to sign 40-year-old, .700 OPS designated hitters.