The Yankees' Jorge Posada is at that age when catchers cannot ignore the wear and tear on their bodies. But a literal tear, in a little-used tendon behind his left leg, is hard for the 34-year-old Posada to deal with stoically.
"It's freaky," he said Friday in the Yankees' clubhouse. Posada sat slumped on his folding chair, a solitary figure amid a hive of activity as his teammates busily prepared for the opener of a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium.
Brian Cashman, the Yankees' general manager, said that Posada was fortunate that the tendon that was torn was not essential to the knee's function. Posada has missed two games because of the injury, which became aggravated by his shin guard strap gouging the area.
He may be placed on the disabled list over his protestations.
Manager Joe Torre said he hoped Posada was right. "If we have to DL him, then obviously we will," Torre said before the game. "But we're going to wait a couple of days."
The Yankees called up Koyie Hill from Triple-A Columbus on Friday to back up Kelly Stinnett, who has started the past two games in Posada's place. "Hopefully it's only for a few days," Stinnett said.
The welt on Posada's left thigh is as hard to ignore as red lipstick on a white collar, but Posada said that the swelling was lessening. "Every day it gets better," he said.
He said he hoped to return by Tuesday or Wednesday, at the latest.
Asked if he could make the injury worse by playing, Posada said glumly, "I don't know that."
Injuries have turned the job of filling out a lineup card into an adventure for Torre, who has five players on the DL: pitchers Carl Pavano, Shawn Chacon and Tanyon Sturtze and outfielders Hideki Matsui and Bubba Crosby. Gary Sheffield, the starting right fielder, returned from the D.L. on Tuesday as the designated hitter and filled that role yesterday for the third consecutive game.