Bernie Williams has been in Jorge Posada’s shoes. Late in his career, Williams had to deal with the reality that he was no longer an everyday center fielder.
Posada now faces a similar situation. For the first time in his 16-year career, Posada will be the Yankees' full-time DH.
On Saturday night, Williams talked about the difficulty of accepting a diminished role.
“To be quite honest it is difficult because you always try to sort of trick yourself into thinking through your whole career that you can do more,” Williams said on Saturday night at the 9th annual Hillside Food Outreach benefit, an event hosted by Williams. “You keep challenging yourself to, you know, the next step. (You) have this mentality through your whole career.”
Williams said it can be tough for a player to accept a lesser role late in his career.
“You still have this attitude that you (think) ‘I can still do it, I can still do it. I know I can still do it.’ But now they’re … sort of putting the brakes on you,” Williams said. “It’s like, ‘You know what, maybe (I can’t).’ And it is certainly hard. It’s certainly difficult.”
Posada, who is entering the final year of a four-year contract he signed in the 2007 offseason, believes there is an easy way to deal with looming uncertainty late in a player's career: produce.
“It is tough. This is business. We have to keep performing and keep doing well,” Posada said. “The decisions are tougher and we understand. The perfect example is Andy (Pettitte). You look at how well he pitched last year and they want him back. You've just got to keep performing to make those decisions easier.”
For what it’s worth, Williams thinks Posada will succeed as a DH after an adjustment period.
“He’s a great hitter. He’s a switch hitter, which is going to be a great asset to the team. But time will tell,” Williams said. “I think it’s definitely going to be an adjustment period to it. But once you get through it, I think he’s going to be fine.”
BERNIE SAYS JETER CAN PLAY WHEREVER HE WANTS: Williams’ take on Derek Jeter moving to center field? He can play anywhere on the diamond, except behind home plate.
“He’s a very good athlete. Not in any way saying that he’s going to play center field. But I think he probably can play any position that he (puts) his mind in to. Probably not catcher. Probably anything else, he’d be able to do,” said Williams, who played 12 seasons with Jeter. “He’s always had this personality of being very team oriented so I think what he’s going to do what’s best for the team.”
Posada doesn't see Jeter moving positions anytime soon.
"Derek's a short stop and Derek is not gonna move to another position," he said. "He hasn't even started playing thhis year and your talking about four years from now. You can't see the future."
JORGE NOT TALKING BASEBALL WITH ANDY: Posada has been texting Andy Pettitte, but he’s not pressing the left-hander to make his decision about pitching in 2011.
“I haven't asked him anything about baseball. I want him to make the decision and whatever it is obviously were going to support it,” Posada said. “Andy is a valuable guy for us. If he wants to be home, obviously he's got the reasons to be home. But obviously we need him.”