Francisco Cervelli has been diagnosed with a broken foot and will spend the next four weeks in a walking boot, with Ben Shpigel of the New York Times reporting that 6-8 weeks on the sidelines is “likely.”
Cervelli was slated to back up Russell Martin and according to Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger the Yankees are not considering using Jorge Posada in that role, which means the door is suddenly wide open for 21-year-old stud prospect Jesus Montero to crack the Opening Day roster.
Montero’s bat is far more MLB-ready than his glove at this point and there are plenty of doubts about whether he’ll be able to handle catching long term even once he develops fully, but an impressive spring could force the Yankees’ hand after he hit .289 with 21 homers and an .870 OPS in 123 games at Triple-A last season and ranked third on Baseball America‘s list of MLB’s top prospects last month behind only Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Mike Trout of the Angels.
Other backup options in Yankees camp are Gustavo Molina, who’s a 29-year-old career minor leaguer, and Austin Romine, who played last season at Double-A as a 21-year-old and ranked 98th on the same Baseball America list. And, of course, the Yankees could always go shopping for another veteran stopgap if they don’t feel like pushing Montero quite yet.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.