The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Good morning … and Happy Youth & Sports Day …

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Misc on May 19, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

… to our many, many readers in Turkey. Seriously. Look it up here.

Now, there are several other holidays being celebrated around the world today (including Malcolm X Day here in the United States), but given the Yankees’ current situation I thought it was particularly appropriate for us become honorary Turks . Think about it: The Yankees are on the greatest run of their season and they certainly wouldn’t be enjoying such a roll without their youth (or, for that matter, sports).

Last night was just the latest example. I wrote last night about Phil Coke’s breathless four-out save (and subsequent awe over the closer’s role), and Melky Cabrera joined Robinson Cano in showing some 2007-style offensive prowess. It’s worth mentioning Cano also dazzled in the field, too.

But holiday cheer is also owed to Francisco Cervelli, the 23-year-old catcher who has suddenly found himself as the Yankees’ starter. Thrust into an incredibly high-pressure situation where he must deal with several veteran pitchers as well as a slew of unproven rookies, Cervelli has shown poise behind the plate and unexpected pop at it (2-for-2 yesterday, 9-for-24 overall).

Late last night, Andy Pettitte heaped praise on Cervelli, who helped guide the lefty through a game in which it was obvious early on that he had little bite on his pitches. “As soon as Josie (Jose Molina) went down (injured) in my last start, I grabbed (Cervelli) and said, ‘Look, you’re in the middle of the fire right now, buddy,’” Pettitte said. “He’s handling it very well though. He’s very confident.”

So how does Cervelli, who has played in exactly 12 big league games, know what to say to guys he’s still getting to know? “I ask a lot of questions,” he said. “I just try to make them comfortable.”

So far, it’s working. Obviously no one expects Cervelli to continue hitting at a .375 clip and, once Jose Molina or Jorge Posada is healthy, it seems likely Cervelli will return to being a bit player, but who knows? There’s no doubt that he’s impressing and, frankly, if you’re looking to honor a Venezuelan who played for the Italian WBC team, what better day is there than Turkish Youth & Sports Day?

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