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


Friday notes: Cervelli gets the first turn behind the plate

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 22, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Francisco Cervelli will start behind the plate for tomorrow’s spring opener. With that, it seems, the competition for the Yankees catching job will begin.

“I’ve seen enough bullpens,” Joe Girardi said. “Kind of actually excited to see that part.”

Not that there’s much to learn from tomorrow’s game. Cervelli probably won’t catch more than four or five innings, and it’s all but certain that no more than two of those innings will be thrown by a big league pitcher. It’s still early, and it’s hard to gather much information from these early spring games.

“I’m not going to judge them early,” Girardi said. “For me, they’ve got to get their bodies physically in shape. They’ve got to get their timing down offensively. Get to know the pitchers. They’re going to catch a lot of pitchers early they don’t know. The pitchers aren’t necessarily going to pitch to a game plan early, and you’re not going to see them following a game plan. So the early part is just the physical part. But as we move forward it’ll be the mental part as well.”

As you might expect, Girardi said his judgment of the catchers won’t begin or end with their offensive numbers. Hitting is a relatively small part of this competition.  

“A lot of times you look at a guy’s overall game,” Girardi said. “But for the catchers, the defense comes first. It has to come first. What they add offensively is a plus. Save us runs; that I will pay close attention to. I will pay attention to how they work with the pitchers. It’s not just the physical, it’s going to be the mental part of the game, too.”

• Phil Hughes said the improvement in his back has been “significant” and he’s still on track to do some pool work on Sunday. “Way better than when I talked to you guy last,” Hughes said.

• Girardi on Hughes: “It’s still too early. I think you have to see him get on the mound to feel that you’re through it and that it’s not going to be an issue that pops up all the time. But that’s a good sign (that he feels better).”

• Jorge Posada mentioned today that Derek Jeter is not even taping his left ankle before going through drills. “I’ve been stepping it up every day,” Jeter said. “Every day is more and more. I’ve been increasing the workload since I started. … Just more agility, more running. You just increase the workload.”

• Any chance of Posada doing what Andy Pettitte did last spring? “He was a little younger than me,” Posada said. “I have no interest in playing ball.”

• David Phelps is scheduled for two innings or 35 pitches tomorrow. There are no other projected big leaguers scheduled to pitch tomorrow. Girardi said Brett Marshall, Nik Turley, Mike O’Brien, Kelvin Perez, Branden Pinder and Chase Whitley are the next names on the list for tomorrow, but he’s not sure exactly which ones will get in the game.

• Adam Warren starts Sunday, Vidal Nuno on Monday and Jose Ramirez on Tuesday. That’s as far as the Yankees know their spring rotation. Nuno (soft-tossing lefty) and Ramirez (hard throwing right-hander) are completely different pitchers, but both are fairly interesting; Nuno because he’s an older pitcher coming off a terrific year, and Ramirez because he’s a younger guy who might be putting some things together and establishing himself as a prospect to watch.

• Girardi’s take on Mariano Rivera’s morning batting practice: “He looked great. He looked like what you expect him to look like, which is a good thing. The delivery, the ball movement, the strikes he’s throwing, he’s throwing it where he wants to, he’s not taking a lot of time between pitches. He looked normal to me.”

• Posada on Rivera’s BP: “The cutter’s still cutting.”

• There was some clubhouse jealousy of Kyle Roller and Rob Segedin because they got to hit against Rivera this morning. As one young hitter told me: “How many more chances will there be?”

• Melky Mesa said it was only a few days ago that he found out about the opportunity to play in the World Baseball Classic. “I just think every opportunity I’ve got to play and do what I do normally is going to be good to me, a good experience,” Mesa said. Does he feel a need to make an early impression on the Yankees before he leaves camp? “No,” Mesa said. “Just play the game, that’s it. Nothing special. Just do what I normally do.”

• Today’s random clubhouse conversation wasn’t all the random. I actually called new reliever David Herndon this winter but only talked to him briefly. Still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, Herndon has actually thrown two bullpens off half mounds. Each one was 25 pitches, all four-seam fastballs. It was awkward for Herndon because he almost exclusively throws sinkers when he pitches, but he said two-seam fastballs can tweak an elbow a little more than four-seamers, so he’s sticking with the straight stuff for now. The elbow feels good and Herndon is confident he can begin rehab games fairly early in the season.

• One random and ultimately meaningless note: Herndon is among a wall of four lockers. The other three belong to Josh Spence, Jim Miller and Matt Daley. Shawn Kelley’s locker is about two feet away on the adjoining wall. It’s the area of experienced, largely off-the-radar relievers trying to make an impression. “I think we have some pretty good competition here for some (bullpen) spots,” Girardi said.

• Standing on the edge of the outfield during batting practice today, Ramon Flores made a nice running catch right in front of me. I was putting quite a bit of faith in his ability to get there, and he did. So add me to the list of people giving Flores rave reviews this spring.

Associated Press photos (all are from a few days ago; Hughes didn’t play catch today)

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30 Responses to “Friday notes: Cervelli gets the first turn behind the plate”

  1. tomingeorgia February 22nd, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I listened to a couple of innings of the Braves-Tigers game this afternoon on MLB.com. What a wonderful sound on a cold rainy day.

  2. yankeefeminista February 22nd, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks, Chad, great stuff. I am pumped to see Ramirez pitch on Tuesday. And Flores will be a treat to watch in Trenton. Any news on Betances? How has Sanchez looked?

    Hip Hip!

  3. comet February 22nd, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Hey Tom!

    Blake you mentioned the Yanks signing Lohse. I don’t think he’s an AL East pitcher. Any money spent on Lohse would IMO be a waste.

  4. tomingeorgia February 22nd, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Hey comet,
    Good to see you around. I don’t want Lohse, either. The chant is always “Get young, get athletic!”. You have to find out about these young guys sooner or later.

  5. Chad Jennings February 22nd, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    yankeefeminista February 22nd, 2013 at 4:24 pm e
    Thanks, Chad, great stuff. I am pumped to see Ramirez pitch on Tuesday. And Flores will be a treat to watch in Trenton. Any news on Betances? How has Sanchez looked?

    Hip Hip!

    Haven’t heard much of anything about Sanchez, but the catchers have really been on a totally different schedule from everyone else.

    I did hear that Betances looked better today than he did the first time he threw BP, but I don’t have any details beyond that. Just heard that from a player. Betances does seem pretty optimistic, especially after that Fall League stint. He’s added a slider and thinks that will help him on days the curveball isn’t working.

  6. Rich in NJ February 22nd, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    We need a big trade to talk about, or a firing, or an ownership change…

  7. RadioKev February 22nd, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Doesn’t it seem a little cruel to ask Jorge if he’s thinking about making a comeback? The Yankees seemed pretty clear in that they wouldn’t sign him back, and he doesn’t want to play anywhere else.

    Purchased my MLB TV. Ready for another season of baseball far from the motherland.

  8. RadioKev February 22nd, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Rich in NJ February 22nd, 2013 at 5:45 pm
    We need a big trade to talk about, or a firing, or an ownership change…
    ——-

    Games will do for me.

  9. yankeefeminista February 22nd, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for the info, Chad. I believe the slider will be a good pitch for Betances, but that curveball when it’s working is one of the nastiest pitches on the planet.

    Rich, how about a game? (and a chance to watch the kids). Thanks for posting that story on Alex.

  10. yankeefeminista February 22nd, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Well, it was Hal who invited Jorge to ST… bet he could still outhit any of our catches with one eye closed.

    Chad, W. Matthews wrote that Tuesday’s game isn’t televised but it is listed on MLB network. Are the Yankees blacking us out even though they aren’t televising it? (groan)

  11. yankeefeminista February 22nd, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    *catchers

  12. J. Alfred Prufrock February 22nd, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    *bet he could still outhit any of our catchers with both eyes closed. /fixed :D

  13. blake February 22nd, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    ” Betances does seem pretty optimistic, especially after that Fall League stint. He’s added a slider and thinks that will help him on days the curveball isn’t working.”

    He needs to work on his strike ball

  14. J. Alfred Prufrock February 22nd, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Good read on Alex, Rich, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    I did think the article was going to go somewhere else. It started out being more idiosyncratic, and then it got progressively formulaic and bogged down with being just a chronology.

    I did appreciate Baird’s comments, though. I’d never seen them, so well worth the read.

  15. blake February 22nd, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    “Well, it was Hal who invited Jorge to ST… bet he could still outhit any of our catches with one eye closed.”

    He could outhit Stewie just by staying retired

  16. J. Alfred Prufrock February 22nd, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I hope Alex makes it back. One, we need him if he can be healthy, and two, it will be fun because it will P.O. all the Alex haters, who basically suck, IMO :)

  17. blake February 22nd, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I don’t necessarily feel sorry for Alex because lets face it’s….he’s worth like 300 million and he brought a lot of this on himself …..but I do kinda feel sad for him because I think a great deal of his problems stem from a personality and insecurity inside him that he just can’t help or control.

    I wonder how much of that fortune he’d trade to have his reputation back? He seems like the sort of person who cares deeply what people think of him and as much as he loves the game I’m sure it kills him that his legacy has taken such a negative turn …..
    money isn’t everything and the part that makes me sad for him is the unhappiness I suspect he feels for all this stuff……he did bring it on himself…..but he’s also taken the brunt of the critisim for things a whole bunch of players have done….

  18. yankeefeminista February 22nd, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    blake February 22nd, 2013 at 6:09 pm
    “Well, it was Hal who invited Jorge to ST… bet he could still outhit any of our catches with one eye closed.”

    He could outhit Stewie just by staying retired
    _____
    Just by existing.
    _____
    Dellin threw strikes in Arizona…
    ___
    If Yanks prevent us from watching Yank MLBN games, I am going to be plenty … (you know what)

  19. J. Alfred Prufrock February 22nd, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    “Stewie” should be honored by all the rich material he’s provided this blog with.

  20. yankeefeminista February 22nd, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I do feel sorry for him, especially because he has so much god-given talent and his fall is tragic, and especially because he has been made a scapegoat of. I too hope he comes back with a vengeance, assuming the hypocrite powers that be actually don’t ban him for life just for being Alex Rodriguez.

  21. yankeefeminista February 22nd, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Stewie for President!

  22. J. Alfred Prufrock February 22nd, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    The point is the imbalance of the criticism Alex absorbs compared to others.

    How is Alex some demonic scourge on the game of baseball and guys like Giambi and Big Papi manage to be “great guys”??

    Where are the excoriations of Braun?

    Do these hypocrites hear themselves or see how mock worthy they are? I’m supposed to become grave and assume their phony indignation about the “purity of baseball”? What, because those people wagging their little fingers are so principled?

    It’s always been about the salary and about Alex’s somewhat nonlinear masculinity. That’s what’s at the bottom of this, because if it were not so, guys like Giambi and Braun and Papi would also be considered pariahs.

    But they’re just “great guys” and Alex is the messenger of the Illuminati sent to earth to corrupt American youth.

    Got it.

  23. jmills February 22nd, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Good evening everybody! I trust everyone is safe and predictably sound.

  24. J. Alfred Prufrock February 22nd, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Yes, Alex did steroids. But as far as I know, he did not molest children or shoot anybody or kill dogs for kicks and profit.

    But the “tragic” thing is like some baaad Hollywood script. It’s tragic that people are such little small-minded idiots, that they have to get on a soapbox and try to singularly destroy someone, even though they know this PEDS thing has been to MLB players what candy in a candy store is to young children.

    The tragedy is that they’re going to try to run this guy out of the game. Hey – your game ain’t exactly squeaky clean, fellas – with or without Alex Rodriguez.

  25. jmills February 22nd, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Hey, Alfred, you’re on some kind of wonderful roll :) good for toi, mon ami!

  26. J. Alfred Prufrock February 22nd, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    jmills!!!

    Alex isn’t a brave spirit. What he should do is tell the whole world to eff off – Keith would ;)

  27. jmills February 22nd, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Exactly, Richards wouldn’t let ‘em eat at him one bit.

  28. J. Alfred Prufrock February 22nd, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    jmills,

    Alex could stand to have a little Keith in him :)

  29. jmills February 22nd, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    There’s times when I’m out there and I say, ” ok, you’re going to be Keith today. “

  30. kYVati August 8th, 2014 at 5:06 am

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