Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yanks Show Concern Over Jorge Posada's Decline

That the Yankees are considering awarding the team's last roster spot to third string catcher Wil Nieves tells more about manager Joe Torre's regard for the decline of starter Jorge Posada than the abilities of Nieves. Nieves, 28, who has virtually no power stroke, has batted nearly .290 over the past three years at Columbus, Ohio, and is hitting a barely respectable .260 this spring. But Posada's homerun rate has fallen from 30 in '03 to 21 in '04 and only 19 last year, a decline attributable not only to Posada's aging at 34 but to a general tiring and wearing down due to excessive action behind the plate. Backup catcher Kelly Stinnett has already made the team but the addition of Nieves would present Torre with further options on days when Posada needs rest. Over similar concerns, the Yankees blocked Posada from playing in the World Classic games earlier this month. Posada currently is recovering from a broken nose, his second such injury in two years, but is expected to be in uniform opening day.