Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli was hit by a foul tip during a game in the Venezuelan Winter League and suffered whiplash. He had a MRI down in Venezuela that came back clear, but he was sent to the Yankees physicality in Tampa as a precaution.
“We brought him in just to take a look at him and made sure he was fine,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “He was cleared and there were no injuries, so he’s free to resume play if that’s what he chooses to do. That’s what he told us he was going to do.”
The Yankees better hope it is just whiplash and not another concussion as Cervelli has already had three concussions over his short career. He is in the running to be their starting catcher this year and another concussion could put a serious damper on his chances.
With Cervelli’s injury concerns it makes it more likely that the Yankees will go with Chris Stewart as their starting catcher. They put a strong emphasis on defense anyway and playing Cervelli part-time would lessen his risk of further injury. Rookie catcher Austin Romine is another option, but Cashman has said that he’s likely to start the season in the minors.
Cervelli spent most of the 2012 season in the minors following his unexpected demotion. He didn’t exactly prove that the demotion was unwarranted when he hit just .246/.341/.316 in 99 games in Triple-A last season.