Tonight, John Ryan Murphy is in the lineup. Tomorrow, he could be gone.
Francisco Cervelli is eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team is still not sure what it’s going to do. All indications are that Cervelli will return, meaning it’s a question of optioning Murphy back to Triple-A or carrying three catchers (or pulling off some sort of trade that renders all of this moot).
“We’ll make an evaluation after tonight, see where he’s at,” Girardi said. “We feel that he’s pretty healthy (now) and that’s a great sign. It could be when we get back (that he’ll be activated). We’ll see where we are after tonight and evaluate it every day.”
The fact Girardi brought up the idea of waiting until the team comes home makes me think that’s the way they’re going to go. Cervelli is in the Double-A lineup tonight, getting another rehab game for a few more at-bats. He could play a few more minor league games before being activated, but indications are that he’s physically ready.
Murphy has hit .296/.321/.370 in 54 at-bats as Cervelli’s replacement. Cervelli played in just five games before straining his hamstring, so his .188/.235/.250 slash line is relatively meaningless. Cervelli was hitting .269/.377/.500 through 52 at-bats last year.
“We’ll talk about what our needs are when he’s eligible,” Girardi said. “That will probably be later tonight or tomorrow. We talked about Murph originally getting a chance to play every day down at Triple-A and continuing to develop, but he’s made some big strides here. Cervy is a guy that we believe can help us, too.”
Unless the Yankees are ready to give up on either Kelly Johnson or Alfonso Soriano, it seems that Murphy is going to end up back in Triple-A.
“I don’t think it ever hurts anyone to play every day, to develop,” Girardi said. “You get in a rhythm more and I think you can learn more about yourself physically sometimes if you’re playing and your career is to be an everyday catcher. I think that’s important to do, to learn how to handle fatigue and all those different types of things.”
• This is actually the first time Murphy’s caught Chase Whitley in the big leagues. Those two are pretty good friends, so this is a pretty cool night for them. As for why Murphy’s playing tonight, Girardi said it’s because the Yankees are facing a lefty and also because he wants to play Brian McCann all three games in Oakland — even the one started by a left-hander — and so this seemed like a best opportunity to give McCann a day off.
• CC Sabathia has been playing catch and threw “a little bit of a flat ground” yesterday, according to Girardi. It’s possible Sabathia could throw off a mound next week, Girardi said.
• Still no throwing for Michael Pineda, but Girardi said Pineda is “pretty close” to playing catch. Girardi said there’s be no new setback. After the most recent injury problem, the Yankees planned to have him rest this long.
• Carlos Beltran played catch for the second straight day. Girardi said he’s pretty sure Beltran is scheduled to take tomorrow off before playing catch again on Saturday. Still doesn’t seem particularly close to playing the field.
• The biggest negative from Whitley’s first five starts has been his relatively low pitch counts. He has yet to throw more than 91 pitches in a game, and he’s only once gotten an out beyond the fifth inning. “We’d like to get him to 90, get him to 100, but we’re still going to be careful because this is really his first year of ever starting,” Girardi said. “I think the most innings he’s ever logged in a season is maybe 85, so with the way our bullpen sets up sometimes, you can take advantage of that. They’re pretty well rested at this point, so you can take advantage of that. But he’s taken a lot of big steps since he’s been here, and we will slowly increase his pitches a little bit.”
• Girardi said he’s left a message for Joe Torre about last night’s fair-foul call at first base, but he has not yet had an actually conversation with Torre to get a clarification on the rule and whether an umpire is allowed to review a fair-foul call made in front of him.
• Saw Jesus Montero pregame. He was called up from the Mariners’ Triple-A team tonight, replacing Michael Suanders, who went on the disabled list. Montero is now listed a full-time first baseman. He hasn’t caught a game this year.
Associated Press photos