The Cervelli backstory
Had a chance in Texas to have a long conversation with Francisco Cervelli. Get this: He has been catching only since 2003 when the Yankees signed him out of Venezuela.
“I was a shortstop and a second baseman and I pitched in Venezuela,” Cervelli said. “I had never caught in my life. I had no idea what to do at first.”
But when he was 17, the Yankees liked his size, arm and athletic ability and offered to sign him if he was willing to try catching. Cervelli jumped at the chance.
“I love it,” he said of catching. “I feel like I was born to do it. I just didn’t know before.”
Cervelli also was a switch hitter when he was a teenager. But when he arrived at the Dominican Summer League in 2003, that was the end of that. He was told to stick with his natural right-handed swing.
Cervelli’s story sort of reminds you of Jorge Posada, who was an infielder before he became a catcher. Now he has a chance to learn from Posada and — who knows? — maybe someday be his replacement. These last few weeks have boosted Cervelli’s stock in a lot of eyes.
Meanwhile, Jesus Montero is 1 for 2 with a double today for Single-A Tampa after belting two homers yesterday. He’s at .340/.394/.571 on the season. That kid is a beast at the plate.