The hit T.V. show “Survivor” and the Yankees backup catching competition have one huge thing in common: The contestants are eliminated one by one until there is one competitor remaining. In a way, the Yankees catching competition was it’s own game of “Survivor”. John Ryan Murphy was eliminated yesterday when he was optioned to minor league camp and Austin Romine was eliminated today when he was optioned to Triple-A. With the eliminations, it leaves only one person standing, Francisco Cervelli.
“Well, I haven’t told him,” Joe Girardi said. “But he’s about the only one left in camp.”
Cervelli was the favorite to win the catching competition going into Spring Training but he’s certainly earned it as Spring Training comes to a close. He had the most home runs, the highest slugging percentage, the most runs scored and the best batting average out of everyone in camp.
However, as Cervelli goes into the season as the backup catcher, his playing time will be determined by when starting catcher Brian McCann needs a day off.
“We expect Brian to catch a lot, a lot, a lot,” Girardi said. “But if we feel he needs a day off, and it’s maybe it’s two out of nine days or two out of eight days. We want Brian in as much as we can, but we know that Cervy can do a really good job. … He’s been around here. He’s pretty familiar with most of the guys. I’ll just put him in when I feel the day is right.”
— Jacoby Ellsbury is slated to play another minor league game today, this time in center field. If all goes well, he could be in the Yankees lineup as early as tomorrow. “Each day we just kind of talk about it, where he’s at, because we want to see where he’s at before we make a decision for the next day,” Girardi said on the Ellsbury situation.
— Alfonso Soriano has some tightness in his shoulder but it’s nothing to keep him out of the lineup today. He has a scheduled day off tomorrow and Girardi will see how he’s feeling on Friday.
— It’s almost certain Brendan Ryan will start the season on the DL and Girardi has a few candidates to choose from. Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Scott Sizemore and Yangervis Solarte are strong candidates while Zealous Wheeler has played well, but seems to be an outside chance since he’s never played a full year in Triple-A.
— One other note that’s more of an observation: Mark Teixeira’s the only Yankee starter to actually play an entire Spring Training game. He did it on Sunday when he went 0-for-4. Maybe he felt he needed more at-bats, but I thought it was rather interesting. With three games left, we might see one game where everyone on the team plays all nine innings.,