Morning notes: Cervelli's backup backstop

TAMPA, Fla. -- It should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention this spring, but Francisco Cervelli has won the Yankees backup catcher's job behind Brian McCann.

Francisco Cervelli

Francisco Cervelli

#29 C
New York Yankees

2014 STATS

  • GM-
  • HR-

  • RBI-

  • R-

  • OBP-

  • AVG-

Joe Girardi hadn't told him yet this morning, but the lockers of every other catcher in camp -- John Ryan Murphy yesterday, Austin Romine and Jose Gil today -- had been swept clean when the room opened at 8:30 a.m.

Cervelli, who is leading all Yankees veterans in batting (.455), home runs (4) and slugging percentage (.909) and is tied with Carlos Beltran with 7 RBI, is coming off an injury-plagued year (broken hand) that was further shortened by a 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis.

"Last year was an embarrassing moment for me," he said. "It’s a moment I’m going to carry forever. I wanted to prove to the fans that I’m healthy and that I come here to play baseball and give everything to the Yankees. I always want to be better. I just feel happy today. That’s it. And that I come here to play baseball, give everything to the Yankees and also for myself. Because I never stop the way I work. I always want to be better. I just feel happy today."

Still, considering the way other springs have ended for him -- Cervelli won the backup job in camp two years ago, too, but was sent to AAA on the final day of spring training when the Yankees traded for Chris Stewart -- he was understandably wary to accept congratulations until he heard the news directly from the manager.

"If my luggage shows up in Houston (where the Yankees open on Tuesday), then I’ll be happy," he said.

Meanwhile, Cervelli is in today's starting lineup against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Here's the rest of it:

Brett Gardner CF

Derek Jeter SS

Carlos Beltran RF

Alfonso Soriano DH

Kelly Johnson 1B

Cervelli C

Brian Roberts 2B

Zoilo Almonte LF

Dean Anna 3B

Chris Leroux RHP

Notes: This will be the first time all spring Jeter has played a day game after a night game at shortstop. He played day-after-night in Panama, but the second game was as a DH ... Mark Teixeira is not on the trip after having played lats night, but said he will play in all three remaining spring games, starting with tomorrow afternoon's trip to Bradenton and one more game against the Pirates ... Jacoby Ellsbury will play in another minor-league game this afternoon at the player development complex across the street, and Girardi said he "believed" Ellsbury would play centerfield. He had six plate appearances as a DH yesterday, going 1-for-4 with two walks but did not run the bases ... Girardi said Soriano had some tightness in his shoulder, but did not seem to think it was anything serious ... Kelly Johnson, who made two errors at third base in the second inning of last night's 6-0 loss to the Phillies, is getting a look at 1B today ... knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is throwing for the Blue Jays. No TV or radio for this one.

Tomorrow's news: In addition to Teixeira, here are the players making the trip to Bradenton tomorrow: Brian McCann, Eduardo Nunez, Ichiro Suzuki, Yangervis Solarte, Russ Canzler, Scott Sizemore and Almonte. CC Sabathia get this final start of the spring and it will be an abbreviated appearance. The game will be televised on YES at 1:05 p.m.