As you might expect, Francisco Cervelli was stunned this afternoon.
The Yankees catching depth took a hit when Austin Romine went down with back injury, and to help remedy that situation, George Kontos was traded to the Giants for backup catcher Chris Stewart.
Cervelli has options remaining — Stewart does not — and so Cervelli has been optioned to Triple-A. Craig Tatum, who the Yankees claimed and passed through waivers just a few days ago, will be Cervelli’s backup. Gustavo Molina has to decide whether to accept an assignment to Double-A or be released. Have to think he’d rather be released.
Stewart never had more than 37 big league at-bats in a season until last year when he went to San Francisco following Buster Posey’s injury. I actually covered Stewart for two years in Triple-A, and he really is a terrific defensive catcher. Pitchers seemed to love him in Scranton, he was a good presence in the clubhouse and — at that level — he was a solid hitter. He’s never hit at the big league level, and I doubt the Yankees are expecting much from him offensively. He’s here for his work behind the plate.
As for the Cervelli situation, here’s what was said…
“That will give us a lot more depth given the Romine injury is going to take a little longer because he had a setback recently. We feel that Cervelli is a major-league backup, without a doubt. Now we’re back to where we were before the Romine injury, even though it’s not a good situation for Cervy to go back to Triple-A. Organizationally we’re in a good place with Russell Martin, Stewart and Cervelli.”
“He’s been here the last three years basically for us. He got called up and kind of burst on the scene in 2009 because of some injuries, and this was a tough one. Our depth for catching with Romine getting hurt was really thin. We know how quick it can happen for a catcher, but it was tough. It’s as tough as I’ve had to do.”
“I’m disappointed with this, but that’s never going to change anything. All my life I’ve had to do things, and I’ve had to do it double, triple. If they want me to prove that I can catch in the big leagues, I’ll go and prove it, that I have to be here. … I don’t understand their reason. I think maybe you’ve got to ask Cash, or somebody else. Maybe the other guy is better than I am right now. Just play baseball, no matter where it is, and show them that I’m a big league catcher, like they say.”
Associated Press photo