Since I’ve been slow to post this news, you’ve probably already heard by now that Yankees backup catcher Francisco Cervelli‘s MRI came back and it has been determined that he has broken his foot. He will now need to wear a protective boot for at least four weeks and could miss a total of six to eight weeks with this injury.
This is a big deal because it means that Cervelli won’t be ready until nearly May. It’s possible that he could come back early, but not likely since as a catcher he really needs his foot to be 100 percent before he can participate in any catching drills. By the time he is able to do that it’ll be like spring training all over again for him.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE THE YANKEES? Probably with Jesus Montero as their backup catcher. Both Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman have said that this doesn’t change anything for Jorge Posada, who will still be the every day DH.
The Yankees won’t just give the backup job to Montero though. Austin Romine and Gustavo Molina are both in camp and will at least get a chance to prove that they can handle the job. Realistically though they are both longshots, especially Molina whom I would categorize as an extreme longshot that the Yankees would only go with if they thought Russell Martin was completely recovered from surgery and Montero and Romine both needed to play everyday in the minors.
That’s not going to happen though. Montero will be the backup, Romine will start the year in Triple-A, and who knows where Molina will end up, but it won’t be in the Bronx.
AS FOR CERVELLI: He’ll wait four weeks and then he’ll begin his rehab. May sounds like an appropriate time for him to be able to make it back to the Bronx, but this injury could mean the end of his Yankees career.
If he is able to return or not really depends on Montero and how the Yankees feel like he’s progressing as the backup. First of all, Girardi broke Posada in gradually back in 1997 and seems to like the idea of doing the same with Montero this season. So it’s likely that once he’s on the team he’ll be on the team for good. If he is really struggling though, either at the plate or behind it, they could send him back to the minors for a little more seasoning.
That would probably just be a temporary move though. I could see him getting sent down in the middle of May if he’s struggling and then he would likely be called up as soon as the Yankees found a team interested in trading for Cervelli. So if Montero struggles, he could go back to the minors until the Yankees deal Cervelli. Or if Montero doesn’t struggle, Cervelli will have to play in the minors until the Yankees find a trading partner.
Either way, Montero will get a chance to be the backup catcher right away and Cervelli is probably traded by the deadline. The wildcard here is Martin. If he struggles coming off of two surgeries, the Yankees could deal him and go with Montero as the starter and Cervelli as the backup. That seems like an unlikely scenario though.
What do you think? Is this the end for Cervelli? Is Montero ready to be on the big league roster? Or will the Yankees do something unforseen like call up Molina instead?