Ronnier Mustelier has a chance to slug his way onto the 25-man roster, but only if he can handle a position. Signed mainly to be an outfielder two years ago, the Cuban expatriate is putting in extra, early work at third base.

"I can play the outfield, I can play the infield. So, if anyone is saying I have no position … it’s not true," Mustelier, 28, said recently through a Spanish interpreter. "That’s my objective, making this team."

Since starting third baseman Kevin Youkilis has the flexibility to also play first base, Joe Girardi wants to see Mustelier at third. "That’s where he played most in Cuba," said the manager.

Subbed in at third base Sunday, Mustelier (0-for-1) handled one pop-up. He’s 6-for-17 (.353) with a triple and homer this spring after batting .314 with 15 homers and 69 RBI in 449 combined at-bats last season at Class AA and AAA. "That kid can hit, there’s no doubt about it," Girardi said.

Mustelier wouldn’t detail his exit from Cuba, except to say he arrived first in Mexico in 2009 and has a 5-year-old son he left behind. He speaks to his family daily. "[It’s] a very difficult time," Mustelier said. But, "I’m doing this specifically for him."