The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Postgame notes: The impact of Cervelli’s broken foot

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcast on Mar 04, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Whatever your opinion of the backup catcher competition — whether you preferred the prospect or the known quantity — Francisco Cervelli’s broken foot is clearly a rough way to lose the job.

“I feel bad, man,” Jorge Posada said. “He worked really hard, and it’s one of those things that’s very unfortunate to see. I feel bad for him.”

The impact of Cervelli’s injury went beyond his own locker, but the impact was not widely spread. Aside from pushing Gustavo Molina vaguely into the mix, it’s impact was more-or-less limited to Austin Romine and Jesus Montero. Two others who might have been affected, Posada and Brian Cashman, are really in no different position today than they were before Cervelli fouled the ball off his foot.

Jesus Montero
You now have to consider him a favorite to make this team. Yesterday Joe Girardi said Cervelli and Montero were the favorites because of their experience, and that would seem to make this Montero’s job to lose. Posada followed a similar path, hitting his way to the big leagues and then learning from a reserve role, and he said that path helped him learn and adjust.

“I’m still learning about everything,” Montero said. “I haven’t played in the big leagues. I want to play there so I can learn quick and help the team to win… I’ve got an opportunity. I’m going to do something good about it.”

Austin Romine
As Girardi said this afternoon, without Cervelli, everyone moves up one spot on the depth chart. That means Romine is one step closer. He might still be behind Montero, but the jump from Double-A isn’t unheard of — Cervelli and Girardi both did it — so Romine could play his way into the mix. I’d still consider him a long shot, but he’s in the conversation.

“I’d like to think I’m not (at a disadvantage),” Romine said. “Triple-A is good baseball up there, but Double-A has made big strides lately. A lot of guys go from Double-A to the big leagues. It’s good ball down there as well. I don’t really see it as a disadvantage.”

Jorge Posada
His situation didn’t change. The Yankees aren’t going to go into a season with their everyday DH being their only backup catcher, and Posada is still the team’s everyday DH.

“I’m not catching. I’m the DH,” Posada said. “They haven’t said anything about me catching, so I’m just getting ready to be the DH… It’s something you can’t control if something happens to the two catchers. I gotta stay catching bullpens, early work during the season. That’s probably going to help me out.”

Brian Cashman
For most teams, losing a backup catcher would require at least a quick glance around the league for alternatives. Instead, Cashman has plenty of in-house options. Obviously, he might have to go shopping if everyone struggles, but for now he can let this thing play out.

“We thankfully, knock on wood, are catching deep,” Cashman said. “With Russell Martin’s addition and the developmental steps that Montero and Romine have taken, we’re covered. That’s one of our positions of strength, unlike most organizations.”

Here’s Montero.

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Here’s Romine.

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Here’s Posada.

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• Cashman said the trade market has been quiet recently. He hasn’t had many calls about his young talent. “Not recently,” Cashman said. “My phone hasn’t been ringing.”

• Bartolo Colon made another strong start with three scoreless innings and five strikeouts. He said his sinker command was much better today than in his first spring start. Frankly, all of the Yankees rotation candidates have pitched well this spring. “I’m not sure anyone is separating themselves from one another,” Cashman said.

• Manny Banuelos won’t pitch his way to New York, but he keeps impressing everyone who sees him. “You forget that he’s 19 years old,” Russell Martin said.

• Random Banuelos/Martin note: Martin put white out on his fingers after Banuelos missed a sign and threw a curveball when Martin called for a changeup. “It was actually good that he did that because now I know he can throw a 2-0 curveball for strikes,” Martin said.

• Speaking of Martin, everything went well in his first game behind the plate. He said he wouldn’t have played if he’d felt anything. The only hang up right now is that he’s still running at about 90 percent. “I guess I’ll wake up tomorrow and see how it feels,” he said. “Right now, it feels good. I think from here on out, I’ll just be catching in the regular rotation.”

• YES Network had Mark Prior’s fastball at 90-91 mph. That fits with what Prior’s been saying about his velocity. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

• Alex Rodriguez had two more hits tonight and he’s off to a strong start this spring. He has four doubles already and he’s batting .500. His double tonight probably would have been a home run had the wind not been blowing in so hard.

• Mark Teixeira, who’s also off to a strong start, also doubled in tonight’s game. So did Robinson Cano, who picked up his first hit of the spring. Derek Jeter also singled and drew a walk.

• All four Red Sox runs were charged to the Yankees left-handed relievers, two charged to Pedro Feliciano and three to Boone Logan, who couldn’t pitch through the seventh. Two of Logan’s runs scored off Eric Wordekemper, who came out of the pen to finish off the inning.

• Girardi said Martin will catch again on Sunday. He’s basically on the every-other-day schedule, more or less taking Cervelli’s place in the catching rotation.

• Finally, one week into the spring schedule, there really haven’t been any huge disappointments other than the Cervelli injury. “Everything is as expected or better,” Cashman said. Then again, as Cashman pointed out, “Does it really matter on March 4?”

Associated Press photos of Montero, Colon and Rodriguez

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