Via Joel Sherman –
In fact, if you think you saw [Jorge] Posada bicycling around the Fisher Island region this winter, you probably did. The relocation from Manhattan to Florida was designed to allow Posada to take parts of his conditioning outdoors. And two or three times a week, he and Yankees strength and conditioning coordinator Dana Cavalea — whom Posada has used as a personal trainer in each of the last three offseasons — endured 50-mile bike rides through the streets and over the bridges of Miami.
Posada pedaled against age and history, the coming avalanche of Yankees catching prospects and the evils done by the most merciless job in this sport.
“He loves baseball and he wants to play as long as possible,” Cavalea said.
So aside from his Tour de Miami jaunts, the hard working Posada worked harder than ever at age 38. He put in 3 1⁄2-hour session five days a week beginning on Dec. 1. The results are less weight (down to 210 pounds) and body fat, and greater strength. Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, who caught until he was 40, thinks Posada “looks 30.”
So he pedals. Because the past is an ugly history lesson. Last year Posada hit 22 homers in his age-37 season. So did Mike Piazza in 2006. Piazza never caught another inning, hit eight homers in 2007 and retired. With catchers, it can go quickly.
Besides Posada and Piazza, Carlton Fisk is the only other catcher 37 or older to reach 20 homers, doing it twice. In fact, with Posada now 38, here is the entire list of catchers 38 or older with more than 12 homers in a season: Fisk, who did it six times. Fisk and Bob Boone are the only catchers in major league history to show consistent year-after-year durability in their late-30s.
Posada has the great pedaling work ethic to try to join that list. And you don’t make it this far without favorable genetics and steely pride. He also was a middle infielder through his first professional season in 1991. So the squatting wear and tear on his legs does not go back into his amateur days.
Still, he has caught in 1,490 regular-season games, plus another 110 in the postseason — or the equivalent the Yankees hope Posada can provide in 2010. The last catcher 38-or-older to start 110 or more games was two decades ago, when the 42-year-old Fisk started 112 games for the 1990 White Sox.
Great to hear. Still, no matter how hard you work, and how great shape you’re in, when you’re older, it’s easier to get hurt – and it takes longer for the hurt to go away. And, that’s the biggest thing that Posada will have to deal with…and hope to avoid.