July 28, 2006
Pena & Posada
From Peter Abraham -
Posada is one of the main reasons the Yankees are 59-40 and leading the American League wild-card race.
"I don't know where we would be without him," Torre said. "It's like he discovered something."
More like somebody. When the Yankees hired Tony Pena as their first base coach, they also found a mentor for Posada.
Pena and Posada had only a nodding acquaintance before this season. But by the second week of spring training, they had become friends.
"He's been so positive with me," Posada said. "Tony is an old fox. He's seen everything, he knows everybody. He understands the position and he understands me. He knows how I'm feeling and what my point of view is."
Pena worked Posada hard during spring training, getting him to lose five pounds in the belief that it would improve his reflexes behind the plate. Posada had gotten heavier the year before, adding muscle during the winter to try and combat age.
"Looking back on it, I made a mistake," he said. "I'm better off when I'm a little lighter."
"I didn't know him until I got here but I look at him like he's one of my sons now," Pena said.
I guess Girardi couldn't connect with Jorge. I'm glad that Pena was able to make the connection. Posada has been huge for New York this year.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at July 28, 2006 04:38 PM
Just my two cents but I wonder if the Girardi/Posada dynamic didn't work because of their previous relationship where the young turk wanted to push the old man out of his way. I don't know if that's it but I'm sure that between that and the comfort of language/culture in common with Tony, Posada's just clicked with Pena a bit better than with Joe G.
I wonder where Pena ranks in terms of Torre replacements. I assume that Mattingly is first in the organization's thinking.
After that, I would put Pena second, Mazzilli third, and (shudder) Bowa fourth. Actually, I would put about 100 people between Maz and Bowa, but I don't mind Bowa as a first base coach.
Whatever it is, it's working and I'm glad. I would not have pegged Posada to have such a big year as he's having, and with all the injuries the Yankees really need it.
Posted by: carla at July 28, 2006 08:23 PM
There are rumors that Yuliesky Gourriel has defected from Cuba. I would think that the Yankees would have to be involved with negotiations with him despite the fact that they don't have need at 3B or 2B.
Some say that he's major league-ready right now. There would be a lot of paperwork involved, but he could help some team right now. It's a fascinating development.