New York Yankees catcher Cervelli smiles as he steps out of the batting cage at the team's spring training camp in Tampa

Francisco Cervelli is the Yankees’ starting catcher


Last year around this time the Yankees demoted Francisco Cervelli to Triple-A. He remained there for basically the entire season and hit just .246 with a .657 OPS in 99 games.

And now he’s in position to be the Yankees’ starting catcher.

Yesterday manager Joe Girardi told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that it’s “fair to say” Cervelli will be the Opening Day catcher after the Yankees reassigned catching prospect Austin Romine to the minors.

Cervelli’s only remaining in-house competition is Chris Stewart, so it’s not much of a fight. But while Cervelli is no one’s idea of a great starting catcher option and his performance at Triple-A last season raises questions about whether his skills have declined at age 27, his numbers from 2009-2011 (.275 AVG, .341 OBP, .699 OPS) are decent enough to be a regular at a position where the average player hit just .246 with a .718 OPS.

The World Series broadcast schedule is announced

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Major League Baseball just announced the broadcast schedule for both Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) of the NLCS and the entire World Series.

There are no surprises here. The World Series games are all on Fox. The pregame show starts at 7:30 and the games themselves start just after 8pm Eastern Daylight Time, regardless of whether it’s Chicago or Los Angeles representing the National League. For some reason Game five of the World Series, scheduled a week from Sunday if it comes to pass, starts seven minutes later than all of the other games. Maybe something super exciting will happen then.


Red Sox sports medicine director says David Ortiz “was essentially playing on stumps”

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 1: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox tips his helmet to the crowd as he exits the game after he singled during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on October 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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David Ortiz had a whale of a final season with the Red Sox. It was so good that he was asked, many, many times, if he was thinking of reversing his retirement decision and coming back for 2017. Ortiz always said no, he was still retiring, occasionally making mention of his aching feet and the physical grind his 40-year-old body was undergoing.

We now know just how much of a grind it was. Indeed, it was extreme. We know this because Dan Dyrek, the Red Sox’ coordinator of sports medicine services, tells it to Rob Bradford of WEEI. Dyrek says that the injuries to Ortiz’s feet, which were often referred to as achilles tendon problems, were way, way more complicated than that, affecting every muscle, bone and tendon in his feet in chain reaction fashion. Dyrek:

“He was essentially playing on stumps. Instead of having this nice, flexible, foot, ankle, calf mechanism to act as a shock absorber, he was playing on stumps. And you can do that for only so long. He was in warrior mode trying to play through this. Once we diagnosed him and saw what was going on and started explaining things to him, there was actually a sense of relief because now he had an explanation of what he was in such excruciating pain.”

That Ortiz was able to even walk through what Dyrek describes is pretty amazing. That he was able to put up a near-MVP season with all of that pain is incredible.