When camp opened in February, it was assumed that there would be a fierce battle for the Yankees' starting catcher job. With Russell Martin moving on to Pittsburgh and the front office not adding any established backstops, it seemed like open season for the three catchers on the 40-man roster: Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, and Austin Romine.
Now that we've reached about the halfway point for spring games, however, the competition for catching duties -- if there ever really was one -- appears to be over. The Yankees demoted youngster Romine to minor-league camp on Monday, and manager Joe Girardi indicated on Wednesday that the starting gig will probably be Cervelli's, according to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger:
[Cervelli's] shown enough this spring for manager Joe Girardi to indicate it’s "fair to say" [he] will be on the roster on April 1 against Boston.
While "one the roster" and in the lineup are not necessarily one in the same, the addition of "April 1 against Bosotn" seems to indicate that Cervelli will be behind the plate.
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Cervelli was bumped off the big-league roster by Stewart just after Opening Day last season, but his strong defensive performance this spring -- throwing out five base-runners in seven attempts -- would seem to give Cervelli the leg up this time around.
Cervelli, 27, hit just .246/.341/.316 with two home runs in 99 games at Triple-A last year, but did throw out 30 percent of would-be base-stealers.