Joba Chamberlain was experiencing more off the field problems than those focused on performance, as a DWI infraction and identity imposter helped to shake up his offseason.
Both stars arrived at February camp in good spirits. They were confident that 2009 would bring positive outcomes for the team and for them as individuals.
The spring had started perfectly for Posada. The Yankee catcher had been attacking the baseball like he was in his 20s again, crushing line drives all over Florida.
Chamberlain had voiced his enthusiasm and devotion to starting pitching, and had come through all workouts without discomfort. His 2008 arm troubles have yet to resurface.
However, after an encouraging start for the Yankees this spring, something appeared wrong with two precious right shoulders.
Chamberlain was lit up in one inning in his first start of the spring on Saturday. He performed a distant third in terms of effectiveness among the young threesome of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and himself.
There is nothing to be alarmed about, as Joba came through the game without reaggravating any injuries.
It is expected for many pitchers to struggle mightily early on, especially those who are inexperienced.
Their early goals are generally to work on fastball command and establishing both sides of the plate. A full repertoire of pitches is rarely utilized, and velocity is pulled back to avoid injury.
The bigger concern lies with Posada’s surgically repaired shoulder. Though neither Posada nor Girardi seems overly concerned, he was scratched due to increased soreness.
Soreness is anticipated in any rehabilitation program, but to experience it before attempting to catch a game is slightly disheartening.
Posada acknowledged that the pain did not affect him during the swing, but this implies that it still hurts significantly while throwing.
With opening day a little over a month away, any lingering soreness could prevent the progression of his rehab. These limitations could cause him to be unprepared to catch full-time as the team breaks camp.
Perhaps the soreness is merely a tiny roadblock on a long path back to success. There is a high likelihood that this is the case.
However, if Posada suffers a major setback at some point in the next few weeks, the Yankees will quickly awake from their World Series dreams.
Yankee fans, players, and office personnel will be watching Posada closely in the weeks and months to come. They know that the achievement of their ultimate goal may depend on him.