Results tagged ‘ Francisco Cervelli ’

Cervelli, Nova on DL; Romine, Nuno up from Scranton

There was good news and bad news about the Yankees’ player transactions before Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. The bad news was that catcher Francisco Cervelli was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken right hand and will be sideline for six weeks. The good news was that although pitcher Ivan Nova was also assigned to the DL his injury (inflammation of the right triceps) is not as serious as had been feared, a possible elbow strain.

So there were two new faces in the Yankees clubhouse. Catcher Austin Romine was recalled from Scranton and pitcher Vidal Nuno had his contract purchased from the Triple A affiliate. To create room on the 40-man roster for Nuno, the Yankees transferred Derek Jeter to the 60-day DL. The Captain is not due back for another three months anyway.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi sounded relieved that the injury to Nova was one that should heal in a short period of time. Nova pointed to a spot above the elbow where he felt tightness while pitching in the early innings of Friday night’s 6-4 Yankees victory over Toronto. He mentioned the stiffness to Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild after the second inning. When Nova hit the first batter he faced in the third and allowed a single to the next, Girardi did not hesitate to remove him and have an MRI done to check out the area.

Nova said the area stiffened up only when he threw curves, but that is his chief weapon, so the Yankees were wise to act quickly on his behalf. David Phelps, who had nine strikeouts in four innings of relief Friday night and earned the winning decision, will take Nova’s spot in the rotation for the time being.

Romine, who was assigned uniform No. 53, was not in the starting lineup as Girardi went with Chris Stewart, who had a good game Friday night by drawing two walks and throwing out two base runners. Romine was kept busy before the game, however, by working with Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte in bullpen sessions.

“I thought when we had him up here in 2011 that he could be a major-league catcher,” Girardi said. “But he hurt his back last year and missed a lot of time, so we felt he would be better served by playing regularly in the minors rather than being a backup here. He will get a chance to show what he can do.”

Romine batted .333 with one home run and four RBI in 14 games and 42 at-bats at Scranton. Nuno’s arrival gives Girardi a second lefthander out of the bullpen to go along with Boone Logan. Nono, who was assigned No. 34, was also off to a good start at Triple A with a 2-0 record and 1.54 ERA. He allowed 13 hits and only two walks with 26 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.

Yanks continue to overcome injuries

The Yankees are certainly going through some severe tests in the early part of the 2013 season. They opened the schedule without their regular shortstop, without their regular third baseman, without their regular first baseman and without their regular center fielder. One of their starting pitchers was also on the disabled list.

Now less than a full month into the season, they have lost their starting catcher and perhaps another starting pitcher. Yankees manager Joe Girardi never identified Francisco Cervelli as the Yankees’ regular catcher, preferring to say that he and Chris Stewart were sharing the position. Yet Cervelli played in twice as many games as Stewart, so you do the math.

Cervelli will be lost to the team for the next six weeks at least because of a fractured right hand that will require surgery, the result of being struck by a Rajai Davis foul ball in the first inning of Friday night’s 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays. That makes Stewart the regular with Triple A Scranton call-up Austin Romine serving as the backup.

“I know it is disappointing for all [Cervelli] has been through,” Girardi said of his catcher who spent most of 2012 in the minors before getting another big-league shot this year. “A lot of times when a catcher gets hit there you end up with a bad bruise. But it must have hit just perfect.”

Ivan Nova has struggled since the start of the season, and now we may know why. He came out of Friday night’s game in the third inning because of a right elbow that is barking. In four starts, Nova had yet to pitch one out into the sixth inning with his ERA an unbecoming 6.48. Opposing hitters are batting .354 in 56 at-bats against Nova, who has allowed 23 hits, eight walks and three hit batters in 16 2/3 innings.

Nova mentioned to Girardi after the second inning that the elbow had stiffened and that he would give it a try to get loose in the third. When it didn’t, Girardi did not hesitate to remove him. After the game, Girardi said that the Yankees would wait until the results of an MRI before deciding how to proceed with his rotation.

David Phelps is the likeliest candidate to take Nova’s place should he go on the disabled list. Phelps got the winning decision Friday with four strong innings that featured nine strikeouts. Mariano Rivera loaded the bases by yielding three singles, but he struck out Colby Rasmus to register his eighth save in eight tries.

The Yankees got a lot of help from Toronto pitchers in winning for the fourth time in five games against the Blue Jays this year. The Yankees had only six hits but took advantage of 10 walks, a hit batter, a wild pitch and a passed ball. Runs scored on the wild pitch and passed ball, which proved to be the margin of difference in the game.

Brett Gardner got a big home run in the eighth inning that created a two-run lead for Rivera to work with in the ninth.

“Guys keep stepping up, just like they did tonight,” Girardi said about the Yankees’ dealing with injuries. “They just keep finding ways. Injuries are part of the game. When you continue to win games, it is very satisfying.”

Cervelli lost for 6 weeks with broken right hand

The worst of Yankees fears was realized Friday night. Francisco Cervelli indeed sustained a right hand fracture when struck by a foul ball off the bat of Rajai Davis in the first inning. The catcher will require surgery and is expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks.

No pun intended, but it was a bad break for Cervelli, who was off to a good start, batting .269 with three home runs and eight RBI in 16 games and 52 at-bats. The Yankees are expected to call up catcher Austin Romine from Triple A Scranton to replace Cervelli on the roster.

The Yankees also announced that pitcher Ivan Nova, who was forced out of the game as well in the third inning, experienced pain in his pitching elbow. The righthander was to undergo an MRI later Friday night.

Yankees’ battery battered

Two innings after losing their starting catcher, Francisco Cervelli, to injury, the Yankees also lost their starting pitcher. Ivan Nova left the game after giving up a single to Rajai Davis, the Toronto designated hitter who was also responsible for Cervelli’s departure with a foul ball that struck the catcher in his right hand.

It was not immediately clear just what was wrong with Nova. He began the third inning by hitting Munenori Kawasaki with a pitch and then gave up a single up the middle to Davis. The ball was hit behind Nova and did not appear to touch him. It did hit the second base bag and went into center field, allowing Kawasaki to reach third base.

Nova was limping noticeably as he returned to the mound, prompting a visit from trainer Steve Donohue. Manager Joe Girardi wasted no time in bringing in another pitcher, David Phelps, who gave up a hit to his first batter, Colby Rasmus, that gave Toronto a 2-1 lead.

Edwin Encarnacion had led off the second inning with a home run in front of the second deck in left field, his sixth homer of the season and his fourth in four consecutive games. The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the second but made the least of a bases-loaded, none-out situation by getting just one run as Eduardo Nunez grounded into a fielder’s choice before Lyle Overbay hit into a double play.

There was a fear on the Yankees’ part that Cervelli may have suffered a fracture. Austin Romine was rumored to have been removed from Triple A Scranton’s game after one at-bat. He could be summoned to take Cervelli’s place on the roster. Romine is batting .333 with one home run and four RBI in 42 at-bats for the International League affiliate.

Cervelli early KO from game

The Yankees lost a starting player before an out was made Friday night. Catcher Francisco Cervelli took a foul ball off his right hand during Blue Jays leadoff hitter Rajai Davis’ first-inning at-bat and had to come out of the game.

Manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue bolted out of the dugout to check with Cervelli, who was flexing his right hand. Donohue centered on the area above the knuckles on the back of Cervelli’s throwing hand. Cervelli didn’t even take any practice throws before Girardi signaled to the bullpen to have Chris Stewart come into the game.

Yanks trump Blue Jays in home runs

Nice weather has finally reached the area. You could tell the difference with all the home runs hit at Yankee Stadium Thursday night. Though it cooled off somewhat in the latter innings, a game time temperature of 65 degrees signaled the possibility that the ball would carry much better than in previous homestands when temperatures barely got out of the 40s.

Over the first four innings, five baseballs left the yard. Hiroki Kuroda, who handled the Blue Jays with ease last week at Toronto, was down quickly, 3-0, on a two-run home run in the first inning by Edwin Encarnacion and a solo shot in the second by Brett Lawrie. Encarnacion’s blow made up for a terrible series last week at Rogers Centre in which he was hitless in 12 at-bats.

But just as quickly, the Yankees struck back with the long ball against Mark Buehrle, a good sign for the team against a lefthander. Southpaws have been tough on the Yanks, particularly lately with Kevin Youkilis out of the lineup. He did not play again Thursday night because of continuing back stiffness.

Vernon Wells hit a towering drive over the center field wall leading off the second inning for his sixth home run, which tied him for the club lead. Temporarily, that is. Robinson Cano thrust the Yankees in front in the third inning with a three-run shot to right. Cano’s seventh home run this season was career No. 184, which tied him with Charlie Keller for 18th place on the Yankees’ all-time list. Next up in 17th place at 185 is Paul O’Neill.

Cano also moved up the Yankees’ career RBI list and into the top 10. His 732 RBI tied him with Elston Howard for 10th place. Give Cano credit. This was the time of year with all the injured Yankees that Cano might have felt pressure to do too much and chased bad pitches, but he has displayed patience and is off to a very productive start, batting .322 with seven homers and 17 RBI.

A lot of that has to do with the protection Cano has received in the lineup from Wells (.293, six home runs, 10 RBI) and Travis Hafner (.300, five home runs, 10 RBI), who was on the bench Thursday night with the Jays starting a lefty.

Francisco Cervelli continued the Yankees’ home run parade with a shot off the barrier in front of the left field bleachers. The catcher’s third home run of the season apparently upset Buehrle, who hit Cervelli with a pitch in his next at-bat. After yielding a single to the next batter, Ichiro Suzuki, Buehrle was taken out of the game and said something to Cervelli at third base as he headed for the dugout.

The Yankees are hopeful they can get the other Francisco, Ben, going. Hafner’s designated hitter partner has struggled. He got a hit with a bunt single that was not awarded until an umpire was overruled by one of his mates. First base umpire Chad Fairchild called Francisco out at first base on a bang-bang play. Replays indicated Encarnacion at first base may not have had control of the ball as Francisco hit the bag. Second base ump Jeff Kellogg, the crew chief, huddled the umpires together, and the call was reversed.

It was the proper call, but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons didn’t think so. He got ejected by Kellogg after a heated argument. The season has not gone the way Gibbons hoped back in spring training. The Jays, who had been picked in many preseason publications as the favorite in the American League East, are 9-14 and have lost three of four games to the Yankees.

Francisco was just thankful to be standing on a base instead of walking back to the dugout. For all of Gibbons’ screaming, the play was not involved in the scoring. Thanks to the weather in the early innings, this was a home run game, and despite the perception that the Yankees are weaker in the power department their 31 homers are the most in the league.

2013 All-Star ballot released

Major League Baseball marked the official start of All-Star balloting today for the 84th All-Star Game that will be held Tuesday, July 16, at Citi Field.

Yankees fans might have to make sure of write-in votes to help some of the players make it onto the team. The ballot does not include catcher Francisco Cervelli or outfielder Vernon Wells, for example. Chris Stewart is listed as the Yankees’ catcher, and the three outfielders on the ballot are Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki. Granderson has yet to play a game. Nor have first baseman Mark Teixeira or shortstop Derek Jeter. All had been expected back in May, which is why they were named to the ballot.

Jeter’s case has changed, obviously, with another break in his surgical left ankle that will keep him out of action until after the All-Star break. Alex Rodriguez, recovering from hip surgery, was never expected to play before the All-Star break, so Kevin Youkilis is listed as the Yankees’ third baseman. Also on the ballot are second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Travis Hafner.

MLB’s All-Star balloting program is the largest of its kind in professional sports. Last year, more than 40.2 million ballots were cast, which was a record. This year, more than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 major-league ballparks, each of which will have 25 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 minor-league parks.

Fans may also cast votes for starters 25 times exclusively at and all 30 club web sites, including – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2013 All-Star Game Ballot Sponsored by

Every major-league club will have begun its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 7. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes Friday, June 28, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at, the 30 club web sites and their mobile devices until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 4. Firestone is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 In-Stadium All-Star balloting program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.

“All-Star Balloting is more popular than ever, and we hope for another record-setting year in 2013,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “Major League Baseball is thrilled that fans throughout the world will continue to choose their favorite players for the greatest sporting event of the summer. We look forward to adding a new chapter to the remarkable National League tradition of New York City at Citi Field this summer.”

This will mark the ninth time the All-Star Game has been in New York. The Yankees have been the host team four times in the Bronx – 1939 and the second of two games in 1960 in the original Yankee Stadium and 1977 and 2008 in the renovated Stadium. The game was also in Manhattan twice when the Giants were the host team at the Polo Grounds – 1934 and 1942 – and once each in Brooklyn when the Dodgers were the host team at Ebbets Field in 1949 and in Queens when the Mets were the host team at Shea Stadium in its inaugural season of 1964.

For the fifth consecutive year, this year’s ballot will feature the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will get to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll also will be available online at

Cano, the winner of the 2011 event at Chase Field in Phoenix, is one of the 10 American League candidates, along with designated hitter Adam Dunn of the White Sox; first baseman Prince Fielder of the Tigers; third basemen Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, Evan Longoria of the Rays and Adrian Beltre of the Rangers; and outfielders Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, Adam Jones of the Orioles and Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout of the Angels.

The 10 National League candidates are catcher Buster Posey of the Giants; first baseman Joey Votto of the Reds; third baseman David Wright of the Mets; and outfielders Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals, Ryan Braun of the Brewers, Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Jason Heyward of the Braves, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins.

The AL and NL All-Star teams will be unveiled Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, televised nationally on TBS. The AL All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL All-Star Team will have eight. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – the AL’s Jim Leyland of the Tigers and the NL’s Bruce Bochy of the Giants.

Immediately following the announcement of the rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each league’s 34-man roster via the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes Thursday, July 11. Now in its 12th season with more than 350 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on, club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the game, fans will vote exclusively online at and the 30 club sites via the 2013 All-Star Game MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

Yanks’ tandem an upgrade at catcher

So where is Russell Martin these days? Oh, that’s right; he took off for Pittsburgh as a free agent in the past off-season because the Pirates came up with a second year in their contract offer. Good for him; I hope he is happy.

I was thinking about Martin during the Yankees-Blue Jays game Sunday at Toronto when Chris Stewart hit a home run in the third inning and threw out Melky Cabrera trying to steal second base in the fifth.

I do not mean to pick on Martin as much as those who kept reporting all winter about how the Yankees blew it by not conceding to the catcher’s contract demands and would regret it. Look at what Stewart and Francisco Cervelli have done so far this year. Does anyone miss Russell Martin all that much?

The Cervelli-Stewart tandem was treated in a few media outlets as some sort of joke during spring training, but the duo have been a major part of the Yankees’ good start that hit a bump Sunday with an 8-4 loss. Stewart was involved in all the Yankees’ scoring innings. He got the Yanks on the board with his first home run of the season, began the two-run rally in the fifth with a single and bunted Jayson Nix to third base with one out in the sixth that preceded the sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner that gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead at that point.

In the first two games of the series – both Yankees victories – Cervelli was behind the plate and had 3-for-8 (.375) with two doubles and two runs scored. He has gotten the bulk of the playing time of the two catchers, with 42 at-bats to Stewart’s 17, but manager Joe Girardi insists that they are sharing the position. However the breakdown, the catching situation has been in good hands.

Cervelli and Stewart are batting a combined .322 with a .525 slugging percentage, three doubles, three home runs and eight RBI in 59 at-bats. Martin? He is hitting .216 with a .353 slugging percentage, three doubles, one home run and three RBI in 51 at-bats. Again, not to pick on the guy, but I cannot remember just when it was that Russell Martin became the second coming of Thurman Munson, which seemed to be an off-season theme in some circles.

Martin had two decent seasons with the Yankees. Last year, he showed renewed power (21 home runs) and had some memorable game-winning hits, including a huge homer against the Mets, but hit .211 for the season. Now I realize that the seamheads who adore the boutique stats don’t make much of batting average anymore, but .211 is still .211, which is not good by any measure.

Stewart had his hands full Sunday with another erratic outing from Ivan Nova, who threw 101 pitches but was gone after giving up a walk and a double to the first two batters in the sixth that the Jays turned into a four-run inning with RBI hits off relievers Boone Logan and David Phelps to regain the lead they would not relinquish again.

The leadoff walk in the sixth was to Toronto designated hitter Adam Lind. I do not know what the Yankees’ scouting report was on Lind, but they sure pitched to him carefully in the series. Lind had five plate appearances and walked in every one, including all four times he stepped to the plate Sunday.

It was nonetheless a positive series for the Yankees, who move on to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a three-game set against another American League East rival, the Rays, who swept the Athletics over the weekend at Tropicana Field.

Despite being booed loudly and repeatedly in the city where he was once a favorite, Vernon Wells will miss Toronto. He had quite series, going 7-for-15 (.467) with a double and two home runs. He also made the defensive play of the game Sunday in the third inning with a fence-climbing catch in left field to rob Edwin Encarnacion of a potential run-scoring, extra-base hit and begin a rally-killing double play.

Gardner also found Toronto to his liking, as usual. He had 5-for-14 (.357) in the series with a double, a home run, a stolen base, two runs and two RBI. Gardner is a .370 career hitter at Rogers Centre with 18 runs, six doubles, six triples, one home run and eight RBI in 30 games.

Yanks still team Blue Jays have to try to catch

One night after they received bad news about Derek Jeter, the Yankees got positive news about Andy Pettitte. The lefthander caused concern when he was pushed back a full turn in the rotation because of back spasms. Pettitte made his first start in 10 days Friday night and looked as if he had not missed a beat.

An efficient, 90-pitch effort carried Pettitte one out into the eighth inning in the Yankees’ 9-3 victory over the Blue Jays. Andy helped make a statement of sorts for the Yankees against the Jays, whom many pre-season prognosticators identified as the favorites to win the American League East this year.

Toronto certainly made a lot of major acquisitions that has revved up Canadian fans. A crowd of 40,028 swelled Rogers Centre Friday night, but Pettitte and his teammates showed Blue Jays followers that the Yankees have no intention of disappearing in the division chase. The Yanks also showed that their acquisitions can get the job done.

The Jays are playing without major off-season pickup Jose Reyes, who is out with a leg injury, but the Yankees do not have their regular shortstop, either. Derek Jeter suffered a setback in his recovery from left ankle surgery and won’t be back in uniform until after the All-Star break at the earliest.

The uplifting performance by Pettitte was an antidote to Thursday night’s 12-inning loss to the Diamondbacks for a Yankees squad that dragged into Ontario in the wee hours. Fortunately, Andy flew ahead and was plenty rested for this start. The Yankees handed him a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Travis Hafner and a run-scoring infield out by Vernon Wells. Pettitte gave up half the lead in the bottom half, but by the time Toronto scored again the Yanks had constructed a seven-run lead.

Pettitte scattered six hits, including a thunderous home run to center field by Jose Bautista (no crime there, he can launch them) with one walk and five strikeouts in improving his record to 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA. Pettitte’s 248th career victory gave him an 88-49 mark (.642) with the Yankees following a team loss. That’s the definition of a stopper.

The Yankees gave him plenty of support, a 13-hit assault against Brandon Morrow and three relievers that featured 10 knocks for extra bases. Hafner homered and doubled. Wells and Lyle Overbay added home runs, Brett Gardner a triple, Francisco Cervelli and Ichiro Suzuki two doubles each and a double by Cano, who had three hits in all. The Yankees also took advantage of an errant throw to the plate by Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus with Wells and Suzuki scoring on the play in the third.

It was a satisfying night for Wells and Overbay, who played significant portions of their career in Toronto and were deluged by boos in their plate appearances. They got the last laughs, however, by slamming homers. Wells spent 12 years north of the border and Overbay five. They teamed to continue the Yankees’ strong run by newcomers along with Hafner.

The Yankees have batted .294 as a team with 23 doubles, one triple and 19 home runs in winning eight of their past 10 games. They lead the AL in home runs with 25. Cano has five homers in the Yankees’ 15 games. He didn’t hit his fifth homer of 2012 until the club’s 43rd game. With a 2-for-3 game, Cervelli raised the batting average of Yankees catchers to .314 in 51 at-bats. A year ago, Yankees catchers ranked 24th of 30 big-league clubs in batting at .220 in 542 at-bats.

Pettitte’s effort was another quality start for the rotation that has pitched to a 2.70 ERA in 66 2/3 innings over this stretch that has pushed the Yanks’ record to 9-6. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are 7-10, so who is chasing whom?

Encouraging start from Hughes

Phil Hughes departed Thursday night’s game on the losing side of the ledger, but it was nonetheless an encouraging outing for him. After two dismal starts, Hughes pitched with determination and gave the Yankees seven strong innings in which he allowed six hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six.

Unfortunately for Hughes, Diamondbacks lefthander Patrick Corbin was a little mite better. His string of 16 scoreless innings, the longest in the major leagues, came to an end when Robinson Cano homered off a 0-and-1 pitch in the sixth inning to cut the Yankees’ deficit to 2-1.

Both of the runs off Hughes were the result of home runs as well, not surprisingly. He gave up dingers to Didi Gregorius in the third and Martin Prado in the sixth. That makes five home runs Hughes has yielded in 10-plus innings at Yankee Stadium this year. Hughes’ predilection for fly balls hurt him at the homer-friendly Stadium, but on the positive side is that all five taters have come with the bases empty.

Phil had a good fastball this time out as it was consistently in the 91-to 93-miles-per-hour range and a sharp-breaking slider, a pitch that seemed to have abandoned him in his previous starts. He did not deserve a losing decision, and as it turned out he didn’t get one.

The Yankees threatened to get Hughes off the hook in the eighth, but a rough call against Cano foiled a rally. Batting with the bases full and one out against righthander David Hernandez, the losing pitcher Wednesday night, Cano was struck in the right leg with a 3-2 pitch. Plate umpire Ron Kulpa ruled that Cano swung through the pitch before it hit him for a strikeout. Henderson then struck out Kevin Youkilis.

But true to history, the Diamondbacks have trouble getting the final out in games at the Stadium. One out into the ninth, Francisco Cervelli homered to left off J.J. Putz to tie the score. That was an impressive blow by Cervelli considering that he committed an error in the top of the inning on an interference call when Gregorius hit him in the mitt on his left hand with a swing of the bat.


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