Not if he keeps hitting like this.
The All-Star catcher hopes to continue his productive start at the plate when the Yankees resume their four-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
With new additions Kenny Lofton, Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez pumping up a lineup that already featured the likes of Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui and Bernie Williams, it is easy to forget that Posada was coming off a career year in 2003. He hit .281 with 30 homers and 101 RBIs, tying Yankee icon Yogi Berra for the most homers by a catcher in a single season.
Posada hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down this season despite hitting as low as eighth in the lineup. He has just four hits in 18 at-bats through four games, but boasts team highs of three homers and eight RBIs.
In Thursday’s home opener, Posada belted a solo homer in the sixth inning to cap the scoring after driving in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the first.
The White Sox lost for the second time in three games, managing just four hits, including Paul Konerko’s RBI single in the fourth off Yankees starter Javier Vazquez, who tossed eight strong innings in his New York debut.
“He kept us off-balance, being able to locate four pitches the way he did,” Chicago slugger Frank Thomas said of Vazquez.
STANDINGS (through April 7): White Sox - 4th place (tied), 1 1/2 GB, AL Central. Yankees - 2nd place, 1/2 GB, AL East.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Jon Garland (12-13, 4.51 ERA in 2003). Garland has won 12 games in each of the last two years, going at least 190 innings in both campaigns. The right-hander is 0-2 despite a solid 3.65 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees. Garland was 5-7 with a 4.87 ERA in 16 road starts last season.
YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Jose Contreras (7-2, 3.30 ERA in 2003). After spending most of his rookie season shuttling back and forth between the starting rotation and bullpen, Contreras has been installed as New York’s No. 4 starter. The Cuban right-hander pitched especially well at Yankee Stadium last year, going 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in seven appearances, including three starts. Contreras was brilliant in his only career start against the White Sox, yielding four hits over eight innings while striking out nine and walking one in a 7-0 win on Sept. 23.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: White Sox - Sandy Alomar, .429 avg.; Carlos Lee, 2 HRs and 3 runs; Konerko, 3 RBIs and 1 SB. Yankees - Giambi, .357 avg.; Posada, 3 HRs and 8 RBIs; Sheffield and Giambi, 4 runs; Lofton, 1 SB.
SEASON SERIES: Yankees, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: White Sox - C Alomar struck out twice in three at-bats against Contreras last September. … RHP Garland is 13-14 with a 5.41 ERA in 41 career day appearances, including 32 starts. … 1B-DH Thomas, who went 1-for-3 on Thursday, is 6-for-16 with two homers and six RBIs in his last four games at Yankee Stadium. Yankees - OF Lofton, who has openly complained about wanting to hit leadoff and play center field regularly, did not play in the opener. He is nursing a tight left thigh, which limited him to DH duties Wednesday in Tampa Bay. … RHP Mariano Rivera has posted saves in consecutive days, making it unlikely manager Joe Torre will call upon him again Friday. … 3B Rodriguez is hitting .438 with a homer and six RBIs in 16 career at-bats against Garland.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: White Sox - 1-2 on the road; Yankees - 1-0 at home.
INJURIES: White Sox - LHP Kelly Wunsch (shoulder), 15-day DL. Yankees - 1B Travis Lee (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (shoulder), 60-day DL.