Yankees Prepare For Internal Catching Solution





NEW YORK—The Yankees insist they are going to tap into the deepest group of catchers in baseball to replace Russell Martin.

Even the possibility of having neophyte Austin Romine handling a veteran pitching staff hasn't bothered the Yankees.

"I think our catching will come from within," general manager Brian Cashman said at the Winter Meetings. "I would be surprised if it didn't."

Of course things can change. A trade could surface. The price on a free agent could drop. Yet the Yankees knew those markets were thin when Martin left for the Pirates after hitting a career-high 21 homers and a career-low .211 average.

"Defense is extremely important and Russell did a good job for us," manager Joe Girardi said. "They are going to have to find ways to produce runs if those are the two or three guys we go with."

The Yankees say Chris Stewart is in the mix. While he could catch more than he did a year ago behind Martin, he is a backup.

In Francisco Cervelli and Romine the Yankees have raw catchers who have to answer serious questions. Cervelli, 26, spent last season in Triple-A until a September callup and batted a pedestrian .246/.316/.341. In parts of five big league seasons, he is a career .271/.339/.353 hitter.

Romine, 24, injured his back in the opening week of spring training and was limited to 49 minor league games, including the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .222/.342/.286. The plan had been for Romine to get at-bats at Triple-A. That plan is about to change.

YANKEE DOODLES

• The Yankees hired Pete Mackanin to a scouting position. Mackanin was the Phillies' bench coach for the past four seasons.

• Adonis Garcia, a 27-year-old signed out of Cuba, was hitting .280/.321/.507 for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican League. Garcia hit .263/.311/.424 in 224 at-bats for high Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.