March 4, 2011

Francisco Cervelli’s foot injury could open the door for Jesus Montero

Spring training position battles are never fun when one player is forced to concede due to an injury, but such a scenario might be the case with the Yankees backup catcher role. Francisco Cervelli fouled a ball off his foot Wednesday, and after a couple of tests the Yankees don’t know exactly how bad it is. It could be a bruise, but it also could be a hairline fracture.

If it’s the latter, it’s good news for Jesus Montero.

UPDATE: It was the latter. Cervelli is out four to eight weeks.

Montero is just 1-for-8 with an RBI in three games thus far, but teammates have seen improvement with his glove. One MLB scout said his bat is capable of producing 35 homers — unheard of for a catcher these days — so if he can make any progress defensively the Yankees could really have something special.

Going back to the matter at hand, would it really be a good thing if Montero starts 2011 as a backup? My plan all along has been for him to start in Scranton and get regular at-bats.

But if an injury makes Montero the best man for the backup job, I don’t think the Yankees will hesitate to use him. Perhaps, if they are really worried about his development, they’ll give him a few extra at-bats as a DH or pinch hitter on days he’s not catching.

Would a serious injury to Cervelli be a good thing for Montero’s development?

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