Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli was lifted prematurely from Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Astros after fouling a ball off his left foot. Trainers immediately took him for an MRI to make sure that he suffered no structural damage, but the results came out inconclusive.
According to Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal, they plan to try again Thursday morning after some of the inflammation leaves his foot.
Cervelli, 24, batted .271 with a decent .359 on-base percentage over 317 plate appearances last season. He hit no homers and will never be a big-fly kind of player, but he has some value as a backup.
The Yanks are planning to use him behind Russell Martin to start the 2011 season. Top catching prospect Jesus Montero will probably do a little more marinating at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for a few months and then bump Cervelli to the minors once he proves ready.
Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.
The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.
While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.
The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.
Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.
This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.