Austin Romine played only 31 minor league games because of back problems last year, which puts him on less-than-equal footing in the starting catcher competition, according to manager Joe Girardi. That doesn’t change anything for Romine, 24, who is out to replace Russell Martin – the free agent lured to Pittsburgh for two years and $17 million. "I want to be on this team, helping them to win a World Series," Romine said. "I don’t want to go to Triple-A. I’m here to show them I can do it."

By cutting out junk food, Romine said he lost 13 pounds in the off-season. His back is "100 percent. Feels great," giving him a boost in his battle with Francisco Cervelli and veteran backup Chris Stewart.

Today, Cervelli is scheduled to address his alleged ties to Biogenetics, the shuttered South Florida clinic tied to alleged sales of PEDs to Alex Rodriguez, among others. "It’s a distraction that he’s going to have to block out," Girardi said. "In a sense, this is a test for him."

Switch on hold

As of now, Girardi said his starting outfield is Brett Gardner in left field, Curtis Granderson in center and Ichiro Suzuki in right. If he were to switch Gardner to center and Granderson to left, "we’d make it pretty early in spring training to see how it worked together," Girardi said. "As of now, there are no plans to do anything."


Girardi doesn’t have a set lineup in mind and his biggest unknown is the right-handed hitting designated hitter, with veterans Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz the prime competitors. … Travis Hafner was issued Nick Swisher’s old No. 33 and Kevin Youkilis, who wore No. 20 in Boston, will wear No. 36. Nos. 87-99 will be worn by one position player and one pitcher because of the dwindling supply. … Right-hander Michael Pineda (shoulder surgery) isn’t due back until "sometime during the summer," Girardi said.