Francisco Cervelli OK after suffering whiplash in Venezuelan Winter League

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We heard last week that the Yankees are prepared to begin 2013 with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart as their catching duo, so this report from Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York is worth noting.

Francisco Cervelli, who seems to make getting hurt in the off-season or in spring training an annual ritual, suffered a whiplash injury on a foul tip while catching in the Venezuelan Winter League and was flown back to Tampa by the Yankees last week for an examination.

Cervelli underwent an MRI in Venezuela which came back clean, but the Yankees wanted to take a look at him, likely due to his lengthy concussion history. The good news is that it doesn’t appear to be serious, as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said they were just being “overly cautious” and that he’s going back to Venezuela to finish the season. He should be fine for spring training.

Cervelli spent most of last season with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. The 26-year-old backstop owns a .271/.339/.353 batting line in the majors.

Roberto Osuna to be the Astros new closer

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When the Astros acquired suspended reliever Roberto Osuna it was viewed as a low-price move to bolster their bullpen. Now, it turns out, it was a move to get a closer. Manager A.J. Hinch said as much today, anyway, telling MLB Network Radio that Osuna is going to get most of Houston’s save chances going forward.

This comes the morning after a late innings loss to the Mariners. The closer who Osuna is going to take over for — Hector Rondon — didn’t even pitch in that game, with the damage coming on a three-run Robinson Cano homer off of Collin McHugh. Rondon has blown saves in two of his last three appearances, however, coughing up runs against the Mariners at home on August 12 and against the A’s this past Friday.

Osuna has made five appearances since joining the Astros, allowing one run, striking out three and walking one in five innings of work. Before that he saved nine games for the Blue Jays prior to his domestic violence suspension.