As Spring Training inches closer, the Yankees still have not signed a legitimate starting option behind the plate this winter, and it began to look more like minor league catcher Austin Romine would have a chance to crack the big league roster.
However, when speaking to the media on Wednesday, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman predicted that Romine likely will not start 2013 in the Bronx, but rather in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with the Triple-A RailRiders.
“I expect Romine to go to Triple-A,” Cashman said. “He missed all of last year, almost . . . I don’t expect him to be our everyday catcher out of the gate. He always has the possibility of taking it, but realistically, if I were in prediction mode, I’d say Triple-A. But he has a chance to alter that.”
Cashman leaves the door open for Romine to break camp with the team, but in all likelihood, it appears that Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart will split time behind the plate in New York to start the season. Romine appeared in just 31 minor league games last season and hit just .241 after missing a good amount of time with a back injury. After the minor league season, Romine participated in the hitter-friendly Arizona Fall League, but struggled to a .222 average during his one-month stint with the organization’s affiliate in Scottsdale.
Romine has the brightest future of the three candidates for the catching position, and I still believe he is playing full-time in the Bronx before the All-Star break. For right now though, it appears the future is on hold, and it is a safe bet that Francisco Cervelli or Chris Stewart will be behind the plate on April 1 when the Yankees open their season.
With the catching position solved in Cashman’s eyes, the Yankees General Manager appears to be focused on finding a right-handed hitting outfielder to compete with Matt Diaz. Formerly of the Atlanta Braves, Diaz was signed to a minor-league deal last week.
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