The news wasn’t so good for Francisco Cervelli today. It was actually pretty depressing. Broken bone in his foot. He has to wear that Ugly, Ugly, Ugly, Ugly, Ugly boot. Did I mention how Ugly that boot is? It's sandals with socks ugly. And he is on crutches. Good thing he worked out all offseason. Those crutches require massive arm strength. The one time I needed crutches, I was reduced to slithering across the floor like a slug. Thank God I wasn’t required to wear that ugly boot though!
Cervelli will spend the rest of spring training in that boot, avoiding baseball activities, drinking lots of milk, downing tums like candy, and trying to heal that bone. Not the way he planned on spending ST after working all winter with Robinson Cano in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, Cervelli should be used to it. In 2008 he had his wrist broken. In 2011 he got a concussion after getting hit by a pitch. And now he suffered a broken foot. At least this one is on him. A pattern is emerging and I expect a torso injury during ST 2012.
Questions now abound about the catching situation. Some fans are joyful for the chance for Jesus Montero to slip onto the MLB team. Some want Montero to go to AAA for more development, and others want him to go to AAA so he can practice catching regularly and get more regular at bats. Jon Lane wrote a great blog on the readiness of Montero as catcher www.myyesnetwork.com/12461/blog/2011/03/...
In my mind, and yes, that is a scary place, that catching derby was kind of out of the catcher’s mitts, and on another factor-a factor more important than the future of Jesus Montero- the present for this NY Yankee team. The pitching rotation is uncertain, to put it mildly. CC-Hughes (who is still a young um, gaining control of his intensity and emotions)-AJ-?-?.
I’m expecting the ? and ? to change, to move, to rotate. But the key in this rotation, in my thoughts is AJ! The Yankees need 3 great pitchers, not 2.
2 great pitchers = an average year
3 great pitchers = a chance at the playoffs
4 great pitchers = playoffs
5 great pitchers = a World Series visit!
The Yankees don’t just want AJ to be good; they desperately need him to be good. He’s been working and tweaking his mechanics. He’s finding his foot placement on the black spot on the mound; he’s working on his release point, arm explosion, whatever he needs to do to win. To throw the ball and get swings and misses, or ground balls, or fly outs. He needs to feel confident, believed in and believe in himself. Everyone in the NYY organization will do whatever it takes to make AJ a winner. AJ needs his Maisy!
Maisy is my older daughter’s, Faith’s, beloved stuffed animal. Maisy Mouse is a British cartoon character. She doesn’t speak, but has a narrator. Everything is nice and calm in Maisy’s world. Her biggest problem is figuring which costume to wear to a Halloween party. My daughter loves her. And Maisy looks well loved. And she is well-traveled also. My daughter wouldn’t go anywhere without her Maisy. It was Faith’s way of coping. She has been through a lot with Maisy’s help. Dental surgery when she was 3, in which most of her teeth were removed. I remember finding her a few days after surgery looking in the mirror, wondering if she was still pretty. Eye surgery when she was 4. Her eyes were misaligned. To see she had to bend her head forward and look out through the area between the top of her eye and the brim of a baseball cap. And through it all, Maisy was there.
Maisy was Faith’s anchor. Dressed in a hospital gown, she was wheeled into the ERs with my daughter. No doctor willing to make them part. Faith loves Maisy. She believes in Maisy and she was able to cope and get through because of Maisy. Her belief is that life would be better because of Maisy.
Maisy didn’t actually perform Faith’s surgery. She didn’t give the loving care to nurse her back, but in Faith’s mind, that is exactly what happened. She pictured Maisy helping Dr. Jason in the OR or feeding her soup afterwards. Maisy was the most important part of her recovery, in helping her cope with life.
Cervelli is AJ’s Maisy. It doesn’t matter if AJ is significantly better with Cervelli or not. What matters is what AJ thinks. The NYY desperately need AJ to have a great season. Whatever it takes, they will do. Last season, AJ had Cervelli as his personal catcher instead of Posada. This annoyed me quite a bit because it was just another reason why I did not see Posada catch. (www.myyesnetwork.com/myyes20860/blog/201...)
So is Montero ready to be backup catcher, I think yes. Will it serve him best to sit on the bench and play maybe twice a week, No. Will he be able to work AJ through this crisis. I don't think anyone can, unless AJ believes they have the magical Maisy power. I thought we would see Montero called up after the ASB when the NYY traded Cervelli as part of a package for a new Ace. This would give AJ enough time to hopefully feel comfortable, build up his confidence and stack up a great W-L record.
But now? Cervelli isn’t available for a while. Maisy won’t be able to perform AJ’s surgery. Although The NYY are deepest in the catcher prospect area, the injury to Cervelli may have been the injury the front office feared the most.