Cervelli is useful, but don't get used to him

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There’s some talk that Jorge Posada is contributing to the Yankees’ pitching woes:

One unsettling fact for the Yankees is the difference when
Jorge Posada catches. With Posada behind the plate, the Yankees’
pitchers have a 6.31 E.R.A. The combined E.R.A. with Francisco
Cervelli, Jose Molina and Kevin Cash is 3.81 . . . Posada, 37, has
handled many exceptional pitchers in his career. Although some, like
Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina, have preferred other catchers, Posada
does not have to apologize for his resume. Posada takes his job
seriously and is an emotional engine of the team.

Yet
Burnett, in particular, seems to struggle with him. In Burnett’s four
starts pitching to Posada, opponents have batted .330. In nine starts
with the other catchers, the average is .223.

This not just media
chatter on a day off, as Burnett himself is on record questioning
Posada’s pitch selection, albeit in somewhat diplomatic terms.

Not
that any of this matters, because there are two numbers that are going
to determine who catches for the Yankees going forward. The first is
.940, which is Posada’s current OPS, and which more than makes up for
whatever impact his pitch choices have on his starters’ ERA. The second
is 1, which is the number of minor league options Francisco Cervelli
has left, meaning that when Jose Molina comes back from the DL,
Cervelli will most likely be enhancing the ERAs of the Scranton-Wilkes
Barre pitching staff, not the one in New York.

Adrian Beltre cleared for extended spring training

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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.

Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.

Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.