The Yankees have dealt with a number of injuries in the first two months of the season, most notably to Nick Johnson and Jorge Posada. Johnson underwent wrist surgery that will keep him out until July at the earliest, while Posada has dealt with calf and foot injuries that have limited him to just 105 plate appearances.
Johnson was signed in the offseason to give New York some depth at DH while still keeping the position semi-open so veterans like Posada and Alex Rodriguez could take a day off from the field but remain in the lineup. While A-Rod has played in 52 of New York's 54 games, Posada's injury woes have convinced Rob Parker of ESPNNewYork.com that the longtime catcher should become the Bronx Bombers' full-time designated hitter. Parker argues that Francisco Cervelli's defense and surprising bat (a .302/.379/.377 line going into today's action) makes him a solid replacement behind the plate.
There appears to be little downside to this move, at least for now. Posada has been a dangerous hitter when he's been able to play this season so there's no sign that the 38-year-old is on an overall decline. When (or if) Johnson is healthy, he can spell Posada at DH and perhaps allow Posada to take the occasional start behind the plate. Cervelli's minor league numbers suggest that his hot hitting won't last, so the Yankees will have to decide if having a rare weak spot in their lineup is worth the trade-off of Cervelli's defense and ability to keep Posada fresh. In case you're wondering about New York catching prospect Jesus Montero, he has struggled (.648 OPS) at Triple-A Scranton this season so the Yanks aren't likely to call him up to the majors anytime soon.