During the 2009 season, the Yankees chose to carry three catchers on their roster: Jorge Posada, Jose Molina, and Francisco Cervelli. Whenever the latter two were penciled into the lineup they delivered great results, allowing Posada to rest from time to time and be ready for October, the most important month in baseball.
Following the Yankees World Championship last season, the Yankees and Jose Molina went their separate ways leaving Cervelli to serve as the Bombers backup catcher. The media and critics were left wondering if Cervelli would be able to thrive in this position.
Through mid May of this 2010 season, Cervelli was batting .400, with 12 RBI in 45 at bats, including a 5 RBI day against the Red Sox in Fenway Park. He has earned the distinction of being the first Yankees catcher with 5 or more RBI against the Sox since Yogi Berra. Not only has Cervelli been lethal with the stick, he has played stellar defense and has handled the pitching staff extremely well.
Francisco Cervelli is loved by the entire pitching staff, most notably CC Sabathia, who made it a point to show his appreciation at the end of the 2009 season. When the Bomber’s twenty-five man roster was deciding what percentage of shares the backups would receive from the World Series winning, Sabathia stood up and requested Cervelli be given a full share. Sabathia even went so far as to say that if Cervelli wasn’t given a full share, he would take it out of his own pocket. Needless to say, no one rebutted Sabathia and Cervelli used his winnings to buy a beautiful, all white, Italian suit that he displayed proudly during last November’s ticker tape parade.
The wear and tear associated with the catcher’s position has slowly started to show in Jorge Posada’s game the past few seasons. Despite these injuries, the 39 year-old future Hall Of Famer continues to press on and compete at an extremely high level while also playing the role of mentor to Cervelli.
Cervelli may just be keeping the back stop position warm for Jesus Montero as the Yankees quest for World Championship number twenty eight continues. Regardless of the management’s future plans for him, Yankee fans, generally a tough group to please, are happy to see Cervelli’s name on the lineup any day of the week.
Jay Ferraro is the Executive Producer of Baseball Digest LIVE and Gotham Baseball LIVE. He is also the Fantasy Editor for Baseballdigest.com as well as a columnist for Baseball Digest Magazine and Assignment Editor for Gothambaseball.com. You can reach him at Jay_Ferraro@Juno.com , follow him on Twitter , add him on Facebook and check out his Official Website.