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David Brown

Yankees beat KC, no thanks to Jorge Posada's misguided throws

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New York Yankees fans, has Jorge Posada(notes) taken one-too-many foul balls off the catcher's mask?

On Thursday night against the Kansas City Royals, the almost-39-year-old Posada made two strange decisions — each of which preceded an ill-advised throw — that won't solidify his place among Bronx backstops such as Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey.

Alex Rodriguez(notes) hit his 599th career homer and Derek Jeter(notes) went inside-the-yard in a 10-4 Yankees victory that obscured Posada's defensive shenanigans.

Both of Posada's plays came in consecutive innings on dropped third strikes.

After CC Sabathia(notes) struck out Yuniesky Betancourt(notes) on a dropped third strike in the sixth, something possessed Posada to throw behind the runner at third base. Posada's throw was wild for an unnecessary error, allowing Willie Bloomquist(notes) to score and the Royals to close within 5-4.

Watch offending Play No. 1

Bloomquist wasn't breaking hard and fast for home, so what was Posada doing? Maybe manager Joe Girardi knows. He was a catcher.


"At times, as players, we're going to make reads that are incorrect," Girardi said. "His idea is to hold the guy there. Obviously he saw a bigger lead than maybe there was."

All Mr. Greedy had to do was throw to first base to complete the second out of the inning, and then let CC finish off the next batter, and the Yankees would have escaped with a two-run cushion.

What happened in the next inning might explain why Posada was reluctant to throw to first base.

There's no accessible video that I've seen, so here's a frame-by-frame account:

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With runners at first and second and two outs, reliever David Robertson(notes) struck out Bloomquist on a ball in the dirt. After getting to his feet, Posada decided against doing a side step — like a coach probably taught him a long time ago — to create a throwing lane for himself.

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"Throw to third!" shouted FSN Kansas City's Ryan Lefebvre. Hilarious, and not beyond the possible.

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But instead, Posada threw a rainbow (not the double kind) over Bloomquist's head that almost went over first baseman Mark Teixeira(notes), who had to leap flat-footed (and backward) for the ball.

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Thankfully for the Yankees, Bloomquist ran hard only part of the way — when he saw Teix leap for Posada's throw — and could not beat him to the bag.

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On the way to first, Bloomquist even looked behind himself at one point, either because he expected Posada to do something nutty and he wanted to see it, or because he just wasn't interested in hustling unless he knew he had to.

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That's what Bloomquist (right) is known for: Hustling his way onto rosters. Also, for his ability to play, kind of, any position. It sure ain't for his on-base percentage.

Earlier in the game, the Royals were shorted a run when Wilson Betemit(notes) was tagged out at second before Jose Guillen(notes) crossed the plate. Michael Kay on YES and Matt Vasgersian on the MLB Network alluded to Guillen not busting it 100 percent.

Nobody said anything (that I heard) about Bloomquist not hustling during the game — possibly because they were in shock over Posada's irresponsible throws. Vasgergian did mention Bloomquist's lack of hustle after the game, but excused it for some reason.

Back to Posada. I'll grant him this: Whenever there's a dropped third strike anywhere, I get uncomfortable just watching because it always SEEMS like something unfairly disastrous could go wrong for the team that just struck out a guy. It's one of those odd baseball rules loopholes.

Nothing disastrous usually happens, though; the catcher tags the runner if possible, throws to first, or steps on the plate if applicable and the out is recorded. They're professionals, after all. But with Posada behind the plate, look out.

It might be time to make Jorge a full-time DH. He's kind of dangerous while wearing the Tools of Ignorance. Like Maverick in "Top Gun," he's writing checks that the Yankees can cash because they're wealthy, but shouldn't have to.

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