It sounds like the Yankees will be without Francisco Cervelli for the opening round of the playoffs and possibly the entire postseason after the backup catcher suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion.
“He threw and did some catching stuff, and some of the symptoms came back,” manager Joe Girardi told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “The health is always the biggest issue, more than any postseason. We’ve got to get this kid healthy.”
Cervelli hasn’t played since suffering the concussion on September 8 following a collision at the plate with Nick Markakis of the Orioles, which means Jorge Posada and Jesus Montero will be on the postseason roster as backups for everyday catcher Russell Martin.
Prior to the concussion Cervelli hit .266 with a career-high .719 OPS in 43 games, serving as one of baseball’s top backups for the third straight season.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.