Cervelli: Pain in the neck

Francisco Cervelli, who seems to make getting hurt in the off-season or in spring training an annual ritual, suffered a whiplash injury on a foul tip while catching in the Venezuelan Winter League and was flown back to Tampa by the Yankees last week for an examination.

According to GM Brian Cashman, Cervelli had an MRI in Venezuela, which came back clean, but since Cervelli is in the mix, along with Chris Stewart and Austin Romine, to be the Yankees' starting catcher in 2013, the club preferred to conduct its own checkup. A source in Tampa tells ESPNNewYork.com that Cervelli was at the Yankees complex today playing catch.

"It was just a case of us being overly cautious," Cashman said. "He's fine and we're sending him back to Venezuela to finish out the season."

In past springs, Cervelli has suffered concussions and a broken foot, missing valuable time. Last year, he remained healthy and had a good spring but was demoted to Triple-A when the Yankees acquired Stewart as the backup to Russell Martin. This year, with Martin having left for Pittsburgh via free agency, the job is once again Cervelli's to win or lose. Provided, of course, that he remains healthy.