NEW YORK -- Forget the past. Yankees catcher Jorge Posada
would be happy to see Pedro Martinez in pinstripes.
"I don't have anything against Pedro if he's my teammate. The
guy is a winner. He knows how to pitch," Posada said Thursday
night at a charity event for manager Joe Torre's Safe at Home
"I would not have a problem with him. We're gentlemen and would
be able to work things out. The same thing happened with Roger [Clemens]."
Perhaps it was Posada's pitch to owner George Steinbrenner that
he find a way to sign Martinez, who filed for free agency after
helping the Red Sox win the World Series last month.
Such amiable sentiment means a lot, especially considering the
source and the recent history of the rivalry. Posada, a leader in
the New York clubhouse, had a memorable run-in with Martinez during
Game 3 of the 2003 AL Championship Series.
The Yankees were upset with Martinez when he threw a pitch
behind Karim Garcia's head at Fenway Park. Posada was one of the
most vocal and visibly angry players, coming out of the dugout to
shout at Martinez, who yelled right back and pointed to his own head.
Afterward, the right-hander denied that the gesture meant he
might throw at Posada's head.
When a brawl broke out later in the game, Martinez tossed
then-Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground.
But Posada would be willing to put all that behind him, he said.
And maybe the 33-year-old Martinez would be happy to pitch for the
Yankees instead of against them. After all, his struggles against
New York prompted him to call the Yankees his "daddy" late last
Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, went 16-9 with a
3.90 ERA in 2004. He faltered against the Yankees in the ALCS but
won his only World Series start, throwing seven shutout innings
against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3.
In need of pitching, the Yankees are looking to acquire at least
one top starter this offseason, perhaps Arizona ace Randy Johnson,
but they are short on high-level prospects to offer in exchange.
That's one reason Posada's name has been mentioned in trade
"I can't control that," he said. "I don't want to be gone. I
don't want to be somewhere else. I consider myself a Yankee."
Another player who might be attractive to other teams is
28-year-old pitcher Javier Vazquez, who got off to a good start in
his first season with the Yankees but struggled mightily in August
"This is a learning experience for Javy," Posada said. "His
best years are ahead of him. I would hate to see him go."