Francisco Cervelli is the Yankees’ starting catcher

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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.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.