Suffering through his worst full season in the major leagues in more than a decade, Posada could not have written a better ending for himself, delivering the game-winning hit Wednesday night in the game that clinched the AL East title for the Yankees.
And on Thursday, manager Joe Girardi returned the favor, delivering the kind of news Posada desperately wanted to hear but had no real right to expect.
Asked before Thursday's Yankees-Tampa Bay Rays game at Yankee Stadium about the likelihood of Posada, an integral part of four previous Yankees world championship teams, being included on the roster as this one begins its playoff drive, Girardi said, "I can't say 100 percent, but I expect him to be there."
After having lost his full-time catching job over the winter and most of his at-bats as the designated hitter halfway through the season, Posada's chances of making the roster seemed to be in question, especially with the promotion of rookie Jesus Montero from Triple-A and the loss of No. 2 catcher Francisco Cervelli to a concussion, necessitating the addition of another backup catcher.
But Girardi acknowledged that Posada's performance on Wednesday, in which he batted for Montero and singled in two runs in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie, went a long way toward changing the manager's thinking toward the 40-year-old Posada.
"Jorgie's been in that situation a lot and has been successful in his career and that's why I sent him up there," Girardi said. "It definitely helps."
Posada is hitting just .239 this season with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs. And against left-handed pitching, Posada has been virtually helpless, with just six hits in 60 at-bats. Posada lost half his DH job, against left-handers, back in May, and lost a significant number of his at-bats against right-handers when Eric Chavez returned from the disabled list in July.
"His swing off of lefties, he's struggled mightily this year, we know that," Girardi said. "But when you look at what Jorgie's done off right-handers, it's been pretty decent."
Posada's average against righties is .270, and all of his home runs and all but three of his RBIs have come against right-handed pitchers. Posada's line-drive single to right came off rookie right-hander Brandon Gomes and brought a raucous reaction from the Yankees dugout.
"I was really excited for Jorgie," Girardi said. "To watch the reaction of the players on the bench who have so much respect and love Jorgie so much, it was just great to see. You would have thought on the bench that it was the game-winning hit and we were all going to run out. That was the feeling that I got."
Posada was in Girardi's lineup Thursday night, batting seventh and playing first base. And from what the manager said before the game, he might be in his lineup in October, too.
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.