Unlike another suspended member of the New York Yankees, Francisco Cervelli took his PED suspension like a man. He didn’t threaten to sue the game and the other players who worked so hard to make the opportunity to be a Major League Baseball player what it is today.
Instead, Cervelli took his lumps, accepted his suspension, and waited for his chance to compete to be the Yankees starting catcher. But as he waited, the Yankees went out and got Brian McCann.
So that leaves Cervelli in a pickle, trapped like a runner between two bases. On one side is McCann, the guy who is assumed to have the catcher’s job for now, and on the other is Austin Romine, the guy many Yankees fans would like to see have the job in the future.
“Anyone that told you that they didn’t want to be a starting catcher is lying to you,” Romine said. “That’s my goal. That’s been my goal since I was a little kid. Everybody wants to be a starting catcher. Right now, the backup job’s open, so that’s what you focus on. You get to be behind a guy that’s done it all and learn some stuff, and maybe they’ll give you a chance.”
So that leaves Cervelli with his work cut out for him. But he is taking it all as a learning experience, as he looks forward to the challenge.
“Last year was a disaster, and we just take the positives out of everything for being a better person and a better player,” Cervelli said. “I’ve just got to keep working, having fun and playing baseball. Do what they ask me to do, and I know what’s my role now, but you never know.”
The best thing he has going for him is that he is now healthy. He has been working out at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa. For his career, he has a .271 batting average with just eight home runs and 79 RBI.
And what he does have to bolster him, is his experience of being a World Series champion in 2009. So, he has seen what it takes to win, and he has learned how to accept responsibility for a big mistake.
So don’t count Cervelli out of the backup job just yet. He has shown the maturity that it takes to grab the opportunity if it presents itself. And maturity is something all Yankees should show.