Yankees, Posada Close in on Deal

NEW YORK -- Jorge Posada prefers to stay with the New York Yankees and believes he is "really close" to reaching a new deal with the team.

"My first priority is the Yankees," the five-time All-Star catcher told reporters Sunday at halftime of the New York Knicks' game against the Miami Heat. "I would like to stay with the Yankees. My heart is with the Yankees, so hopefully we can get something done."

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The Yankees' exclusive negotiating rights with Posada end on Tuesday, when free agents can talk money with all teams.

"We're working with the Yankees," Posada said. "Right now it's up in the air, but the chances are good."

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Posada, coming off a season in which he hit a career-best .338 with 20 homers, 90 RBIs and 91 runs scored, has reportedly been offered a three-year deal for around $40 million by the Yankees. He is believed to be seeking a fourth year.

Posada also voiceed his support for new Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a teammate in the Bronx from 1996-99.

"I love Joe," he said. "He's been like a big brother to me since '96, so I'm really hopefully looking forward to working with him."

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