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Opportunity knocks for more than just Romine

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[2]We know Francisco Cervelli is on the roster for Team Italy, but I think it’s worth wondering whether he’ll actually go through with it and play in the World Baseball Classic.

I’ve written before that I tend to agree with Jordan’s morning post — given the current situation, it makes a lot of sense to have Austin Romine open this season behind the plate — but it’s worth remembering that the current catching vacancy is an opportunity for more than Romine. Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Bobby Wilson have each been painted as backups, and that label isn’t easy to shake in this game. The Yankees say they’re willing to stick with their in-house options, and so far they’re putting their (lack of) money where their mouth is.

Should Cervelli be the one who wins the job? Not necessarily, but surely he recognizes the opportunity. And surely last spring opened his eyes to just how fleeting these opportunities can be.

Earlier this month, Cervelli told the Star-Ledger [3] that he wasn’t sure about playing in the World Baseball Classic. He hadn’t talked to the Yankees to get their opinion — as I understand it, the Yankees aren’t allowed to tell him no — but Cervelli recognized the need to make an impression.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone with the Yankees,” Cervelli said. “And I don’t need to talk to anyone until they want to talk to me. I just want them to see I’m ready to play. That’s it.”

Cervelli hit .305/.432/.525 in Venezuela this winter, which isn’t to say he’s suddenly going to put up those numbers in the big leagues, but it does suggest he’s seen some pitches and moved beyond last year’s Triple-A struggles. Hard to say if or when a guy like Cervelli — or Stewart, or Wilson — will have another opportunity like this, and to spend part of spring training working out for another manager and another set of coaches could only open the door for someone else to make an impression.

“The way I’m thinking, I’ve changed a little bit because of what happened last year,” Cervelli told the Star-Ledger. “But I’m very positive and looking forward to being the starting catcher, but I don’t think too much about it. I keep my expectations low because a lot of things can happen. But I really want it and this is my dream. It’s always been my dream.”

It’s time for Cervelli to go after it, because you can bet Romine will.

Associated Press photo