NEW YORK (AP) Jorge Posada wants to help the New York Yankees win this year, and be ready for the start of next season.
The All-Star catcher may have to choose between the two.
Posada went on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season Monday, and could be headed for season-ending surgery on his injured throwing shoulder.
"It's just really, really tough," Posada said. "Right now, I'm going through tough times."
Posada was scheduled to see New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek on Tuesday to get an MRI and to have his shoulder examined. He missed more than a month earlier this season with right rotator cuff tendinitis.
Acknowledging there's more damage in the shoulder beyond a torn labrum, Posada could miss the start of next season if he puts off the necessary surgery.
"That's the biggest thing," he said. "I don't want to miss two years. I'm already flustered with this one because I haven't been 100 percent and I've been trying to play through a lot of pain."
Posada hasn't played since he left New York's 4-3, 12-inning win over Oakland on Saturday before the 10th, and said the shoulder has been bothering him since spring training. He said it's also affecting him at the plate but insisted he could fight through it if all he can do is serve as a designated hitter/first baseman for the rest of the season.
"I think there's some frustration from Jorge's standpoint that his arm didn't bounce back the way he wanted it to," manager Joe Girardi said. "We just felt that maybe he can't come back as a catcher right away but we still believe that Jorge can be productive, and maybe the rest will help him feel a little bit better."
Also, Johnny Damon was activated from the disabled list and was in the starting lineup for the Yankees' game against the Minnesota Twins. Damon injured his left shoulder when he ran into the fence attempting to catch a ball on July 4.
Damon was the designated hitter against the Twins and might not be able to play in the outfield for a few days.
"We'll try to increase the amount of throwing that he can do every day," Girardi said. "Obviously, the sooner that he can play the outfield the more versatile he is for us and makes our lineup more versatile, but he's a DH today."
Hideki Matsui, another injured outfielder/designated hitter, was examined again Monday and decided against surgery on his balky left knee. He's going to try more rehab, but also could miss the rest of the year if his knee flares up on him again.
"I wouldn't say I'm optimistic personally," general manager Brian Cashman said. "I think it speaks a lot to his heart. His doctor looked at him and recommended surgery, and on the drive here he wants to fight through it and give it another shot. There's no harm in doing that. It's not going to make it any worse. He just wants to try again.
"Probably if the knee swells up again significantly, then we're dealing with last call."
Matsui had offseason surgery on his right knee but it's his left one that has sidelined him since June 22 and kept him from playing the outfield since June 15. He is batting .323 with seven homers and 34 RBIs this season.
"There's no doubt that the experience that I had with my right knee, in terms of recovering from that, played a role in this decision," Matsui said through a translator. "If I were to get surgery right now I don't think I would be able to make it back this season."
If Matsui and Posada make it back this year, it would leave the Yankees with a logjam at designated hitter.
"You cross that bridge when you get there," Girardi said.
Jose Molina started at catcher against the Twins, and Chad Moeller also will see increased time with Posada out.
The 36-year-old Posada, batting .268 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games, signed a $52.4 million, four-year contract in the offseason. Girardi said the club is hoping 10 days of "intense" rehab will be enough to get him back this season.
Posada is looking at four to six months of rehab when he has the surgery.
"I don't want to miss the year," he said. "I still want to help out but I've still got to look at the option of next year. So we'll see."