Joe Girardi believes the Yankees can duplicate last year’s 95-win season and cop the AL East title.
One of the reasons is that he believes Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart will save runs defensively to help make up for Russell Martin’s 21 homers and 53 RBIs Yankees ownership didn’t believe was worth keeping.
“It’s hard to quantify how many runs a catcher can save,’’ Girardi said. “The [catchers] we have can save a lot of runs for us. That’s like RBIs.’’
Cervelli, who spent five months at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Triple-A) last year, is considered the favorite to get the majority of the playing time even if Stewart, a career backup, surpasses the career-high 55 games he caught last season as a Yankee.
Cervelli has admitted to visiting an anti-aging clinic in Miami that is being investigated by MLB for performance-enhancing drugs for legal purposes. As the investigation continues, Cervelli’s name will be linked to the case. Cervelli said he will address the issue today.
“Of course it could weigh on his mind, but it’s a distraction that he has to block out in able to perform,’’ Girardi said of Cervelli, who appeared in three games last year and got one at-bat. “There are other things in a person’s life that could be distracting. In a sense this is a test for him, how he is able to block this out. Cervy has a big opportunity in front of him.’’
Staff ace said CC Sabathia believes Cervellli and Stewart can handle the assignment of replacing Martin. Last year, Girardi paired Sabathia and Stewart often.
Asked if in a perfect world would he prefer one catcher working with him instead of two, Sabathia quipped, “In a perfect world everybody would want to throw to Pudge Rodriguez and Sandy Alomar, right?’’
On defensive, Girardi backs catching mix
New York Post | Feb 13