Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli fractured his right wrist when Rays second baseman Elliot Johnson collided with him at a play at home plate in the ninth inning on Saturday. First-year Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a former big league catcher, said that Johnson’s aggression was too much for an exhibition game.
"I think it’s uncalled for," Girardi said. "It’s spring training. You’re going to get people hurt, and that’s what we got – we got Cervelli hurt."
Cervelli was sent to nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital for X-Rays on his right wrist – the same one he broke after getting hit by a pitch in winter ball a few months ago. The impact of the blow fractured the wrist, but Cervelli said it was a different spot than he had previously injured.
"It’s one thing to get hit by a pitch that gets away or to twist an ankle running the bases, but I don’t understand this," Girardi said. "I don’t understand it. During the season, I’m all for it. It happens in the season, and as a catcher, I understand that. But in spring training, I don’t believe in it."
Rays manager Joe Maddon didn’t see eye to eye with Girardi, defending the play.
"I loved the hardball right there," Maddon said. "We’re playing it hard, we’re playing it right. It was a bang-bang play at the plate. I couldn’t tell exactly where the catcher was in regard to the plate, but he was trying to score a run right there and that’s part of the game."
Cervelli, who hit .279/.387/.398 in 290 at-bats for high Class A Tampa in 2007, ranked 23rd among prospects in the Yankees organization. He was added to the 40-man roster in November and was expected to begin the year with Double-A Trenton.