Jose aggravated the strain running the bases in Florida last week but he is hopeful of being activated in 10 days or so. “It’s not as bad this time,” he said.
I asked Jose if he has been keeping track of Francisco Cervelli, who has done such a nice job of filling in for him.
“I’m so happy for that kid,” Molina said. “He has been working hard and it’s great to see it pay off for him. He has done great.”
Catchers are a tight-knit group and that is especially the case with the Yankees. Joe Girardi was a catcher and bench coach Tony Pena was one of the best defensive catchers ever. At spring training, you often see Pena and the catchers together, either doing drills or talking about the game.
Cervelli has been in camp for several years now and Pena, Posada and Molina have taken turns mentoring him. Pena keeps in close contact with minor league catching instructor Julio Mosquera to stay current on the kids he works with during spring training.
“I’ve been blessed,” Cervelli told me. “I’ve had a lot of great teachers. Jorge and Jose, they talk to me all the time and tell me what I should be doing. They want to do what’s best for the team and the pitchers. Tony talks to every day. He’s like my own coach sometimes.”
It tells you what a class guy Molina is to act that way. He will be a free agent after the season and the Yankees could well decide that Cervelli is ready to be Posada’s backup. But Jose is doing more than his part to get Cervelli ready.
Meanwhile, several people e-mailed to ask what the three stickers on Cervelli’s catcher’s helmet (see the photo) are for. Francisco said the initials represent the nicknames of the father, mother and sister back in Venezuela.
“They’re with me all the time,” he said.