Upset Posada won't challenge Yankees

TAMPA, Fla. -- While angry he was blocked from playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, Jorge Posada opted not to challenge the New York Yankees.

"I don't want to push it," he said Tuesday. "I don't want to get the team mad. I don't want to make the team feel like I'm a hassle. If they didn't want me to play, and I go out there and get hurt, then it's even worse. I want to be healthy, I want to be strong and I want to be ready for the season."

Under the tournament's rules, teams could petition the commissioner's office and the players' association to block their players from appearing. New York's move to keep Posada from playing was accepted.

"I was upset," the 34-year-old catcher said after working out at the Yankees' minor-league complex. "Obviously, I wanted to play for Puerto Rico. I wanted to play in front of my family, to be there and wear that P.R. on my shirt. But it didn't happen."

Posada has spent his entire career in the New York organization and would like to retire as a Yankee. His contract runs through this season and has an option for 2007 that will likely become guaranteed if he stays healthy.

"It's something we can't get ahead of ourselves on," Posada said. "There's things you can't control, but I want to. I'm a Yankee. I love to put that uniform on."

Posada is looking forward to catching ace Randy Johnson on a regular basis this season. Johnson's primary catcher last year was John Flaherty, who signed with Boston during the offseason and was replaced by Kelly Stinnett.

"That's our horse," Posada said. "I'm going to make the effort of making him feel comfortable, like Flaherty did."