Jorge Posada's 2011 catching debut

Updated: September 11, 2011, 2:52 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jorge Posada returned to catcher for the New York Yankees for the first time all season after Russell Martin took a foul tip off his right thumb during Saturday's 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"I got a chance to get back behind the plate," Posada said. "I have my equipment with me. I'm an emergency catcher, like I was today. Joe said, 'What do you think?' So I said, 'Well, if you need me, I'm there.' He said, 'Go ahead. It's like riding a bike.' I was excited. It was fun. I'll be sore tomorrow, but I'll sleep well tonight."

Francisco Cervelli, the Yankees' usual backup, wasn't an option because he is experiencing concussion-like symptoms.

When Posada entered in the third, Howie Kendrick singled and then tried to steal. The 40-year-old Posada, who hasn't even played an exhibition game behind the plate this season, gunned down Kendrick at second. It was a high throw, but arrived in plenty of time for second baseman Robinson Cano to tag out Kendrick.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi turned to Posada after Martin took a Maicer Izturis foul tip off his right thumb in the second inning. After being attended to by Girardi and Yankees team trainers, Martin remained in the game.

Martin returned to take CC Sabathia's warm-ups to begin the bottom of the third. He ended the practice session by airmailing a throw into centerfield. At that point, Girardi came out of the dugout and, after a brief discussion, took Martin out.

X-rays on Martin's bruised right thumb came back negative, revealing no structural damage, but Girardi said Martin will need at least a day or two to recover.

"It hit the end of the thumb and bent the nail right in the middle," Martin said. "I couldn't really feel the baseball in my hand when I threw to second base. I knew at some point the feeling was going to come back. It just took a little longer than I anticipated."

Jesus Montero, who was DHing Saturday, also had his catching gear at one point, but Girardi turned to Posada. If Montero had caught for the first time, then the Yankees would have lost their DH and Sabathia would have had to hit.

"It showed a lot of guts to go back there and do what he did," said Girardi, who took a lot of heat from Posada for putting Posada ninth in the batting order earlier this season. "I thought he did fine. He'll get back there every once in a while to warm up a pitcher in-between innings and it kind of gives him that feel. But it's not easy."

Posada went 1-for-2 with a strikeout and a single, one of just four hits the Yankees could muster against Angels starter Dan Haren, who struck out seven in a masterful complete-game shutout.

For the season, Posada is batting .241 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs, with a .318 on-base percentage and .406 slugging percentage.

The Yankees could be in a bind going forward. Cervelli, who was bowled over by Nick Markakis at home plate Thursday in Baltimore, has been scratched from the lineup the past two games.

Cervelli is headed back to New York to have further examinations for a possible concussion.

"I think I need to rest for a couple of days," Cervelli said. "I'll see what the doctors say."

The Yankees are likely going to call up Austin Romine to have another catcher on the roster, their catching prospect who spent most of his time at Double-A this season. Romine is considered a better defensive catcher than Montero. Girardi has sounded hesitant to use the 21-year-old Montero behind the plate.

Girardi's main reasoning has been that Montero is unfamiliar with the Yankees' pitchers, though Romine would have that same problem if he were called up.

This offseason, Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Posada that he likely wouldn't be catching this year, but to be prepared to go behind the plate. This season Posada has DHed and played first base -- and even played one inning at second base -- but on Saturday he returned to the spot where he has won four World Series rings.

Romine is not currently on the 40-man roster.

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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