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Cashman talks about Posada, much more

11/13/2010

NEW YORK -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spoke with the New York baseball media for a little over 18 minutes on Thursday night, on the red carpet outside Joe Torre's Safe At Home Foundation dinner at Chelsea Piers.

Besides the two hottest topics of the evening -- Derek Jeter (read more here) and Cliff Lee (read more here) -- Cashman also addressed several other Yankees issues:

• Cashman elaborated on the meeting he had with Jorge Posada on Monday, in which he informed Posada that the Yankees' plan was to have him primarily serve as the team's designated hitter next season.

A reporter asked Cashman how Posada took the news. "Like a pro," Cashman said. "We had a good, honest, direct conversation, and he was professional. All he wants to do is win, and he wants to play."

"If things go the way at least we're drawing it up, he'll be in the lineup as the DH," Cashman continued. "But I told him he needs to prepare as a catcher at the same time, because it doesn't mean things will go the way you expect. You've got underperformance, you've got injuries -- you've got a whole number or host of reasons that can derail the best-laid plans. So he needs to be available to us to catch if necessary when called upon."

• Who will be the Yankees' starting catcher next season? That's an open question. The Yankees have two highly-regarded catching prospects in the minor leagues -- 20-year-old Jesus Montero, who spent last season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; and 21-year-old Austin Romine, who spent last season at Double-A Trenton. There's also 24-year-old Francisco Cervelli, who served as the Yanks' backup catcher this past season.

"We're certainly not handing a job to anybody," Cashman said. "We have some serious young good catching coming. They have to earn it though. They have to earn it at the next level."

"I'm sure Montero's gonna want to prove that it's time for him to catch," Cashman added. "I'm sure Romine's gonna want to prove that, 'Hey, why is Montero getting all the ink, they should be writing about me.' And I'm sure Cervelli is in the middle of this thing saying, 'Hey, this is a bunch of crap, because I should be the guy that they're talking about being the everyday guy. I've got more experience than the other two.' Which creates great competition -- that's what I want. And I wouldn't even close the door on looking out in the marketplace and see if I can secure somebody else out there as a cushion. ... I hope that'll be a great healthy competition."

• On the topic of re-signing closer Mariano Rivera, Cashman said he met with Rivera's agent, Fern Cuza, while he was in Tampa for two days of organizational meetings with ownership soon after the season ended. But he provided no further update on the status of negotiations.

Rivera was also in attendance Thursday night, and spoke very briefly with reporters before heading inside to the dinner. "I have nothing to tell you guys, because I don't know anything," Rivera said, smiling. "So when I know, I will tell you guys."

• There was also nothing new to report on the status of Andy Pettitte. "I talked to Pettitte right before he left [for the offseason] -- I called him on the phone, we had a discussion before he left. He's gonna take some time like he always does, and try to make a decision at some point."

Cashman also said there is no deadline for when Pettitte needs to make a decision, at least from the Yankees' end.

• Cashman said the Yankees have expressed interest in several other free agents besides Lee -- but he didn't name any names. "We've made a lot of phone calls, and expressed interest in a number of players," Cashman said. "Our name's on the board north, south, east and west, and how this winter plays out will dictate who we wind up with."

• Cashman said he began the process of interviewing prospective pitching coaches earlier in the day on Thursday, by talking to Yankees bullpen coach Mike Harkey and Oakland A's minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson. Patterson is also a former Yankees player and minor league pitching coach.

Cashman will conduct more interviews next week. "I'll start it back up next week, and try to make a decision as soon as possible," Cashman said. "[Manager] Joe Girardi and I are running those from up here, so [I] hope to find the right person for Joe."

• Cashman was asked what he thought about Derek Jeter winning another Gold Glove earlier this week, along with Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira. "We're proud," Cashman said. "I wish that Alex [Rodriguez] won it too, so we could have the whole infield do it. But that's an awesome accomplishment, to have [Jeter], Cano and Tex [win]. I'm proud of all those guys. Derek's been steady for us at that position, and we're really proud that he added another one to the fold."