It’s settled. Barring a last-minute addition, the Yankees will enter the season with a catching tandem of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart.
That became the reality this afternoon after prospect catcher Austin Romine was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre among a series of roster cuts. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said back in January that he expected Romine to begin the season in the minors, so the move doesn’t come as a big surprise.
Romine, 24, went 2-for-8 with three RBI and a run scored in six Grapefruit League games. Sending him down is the right move for his development, as he was limited to just 31 games last season due to a back injury and has only appeared in 26 games above Double-A (including five with the Yankees in 2011), but there figures to be plenty of clamoring for his callup if he gets off to a hot start and Cervelli and Stewart are as underwhelming offensively as most expect.
ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.
Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.
The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.
The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.
Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.
Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).