New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli was optioned down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday after a trade that helped New York to acquire Chris Stewart from the Giants for George Kontos.
The news is quite a shock as fans remain stunned from the move. Some wondered if Cervelli may have been a trade option, but no one saw this coming, including Cervelli.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Stewart will be on the Opening Day roster as a backup catcher
Cervelli was called up from the minor leagues in 2009 and quickly became a popular player with the fans because of his youthful energy and refreshing presence on the field.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that this was one of the toughest decisions for New York, and was especially difficult for him to break the news to Cervelli.
Concerns about the Yankees depth in the catcher position played a large role in this decision. Top catching prospect Austin Romine has had a recurring disc injury that has prevented him from contributing to the Yankees which created a need for a catcher.
Cashman said that it's not a good situation for Cervelli to be sent to Triple-A, and he thinks that Cervelli is a good major league backup catcher.
Starting with a brief call-up to the Yankees in 2008, Cervelli has 133 hits, 19 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 71 RBI with a .272 batting average over four seasons as a backup catcher.
Did the Yankees make a mistake by sending Cervelli down to Triple-A?
Cervelli had a decent outing in Wednesday against the Mets in a Grapefruit League game hitting a home run in the Yankees' 8-3 win.
He had been led to believe throughout the spring that he would be the backup catcher for the 2012 season. He was disappointed with the news, but said that if the Yankees organization wants him to prove that he deserves the position, then he will prove it to them.
Cervelli's energy and his infectious presence will be missed on the field and in the clubhouse, but he will take the opportunity to improve and earn his spot back in the majors.
In the meantime, the news is difficult.