Francisco Cervelli was hoping to be the everyday starting catcher for the New York Yankees in the 2013 season with Russell Martin's departure in free agency last winter and all was going according to plan up until the end of the first month of the season.
First, Cervelli broke his hand, which knocked him out until August and was supposed to eventually return to the team, but that return never happened, as on August 5, the Yankees catcher was one of 13 players suspended for their involvement in the Miami Biogenesis case in which players reportedly purchased and used performance enhancement drugs.
Cervelli accepted the punishment just as 12 other players did in the summer and served a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball and never returned to the Yankees, even when his suspension was up with three games remaining in the season.
On Tuesday, Cervelli opened up for the first time since the suspension as he talked to Erik Boland from Newsday regarding the suspension and why he decided to use PED's from Anthony Bosch in Miami several years ago.
"I talked to my agents, my lawyers and that's what I said," Cervelli said. "Let's stand up and that's it. I don't want to keep this soap opera going. I felt so many times in my career a little scared I'm going to lose my job," said Cervelli, who finally achieved what he called his "dream" of being the starting catcher of the Yankees this spring. "Every year I have to go to spring training and fight for a job."
The instance Cervelli is talking about was spring training of 2011, when Cervelli broke his foot in a game and needed a quick fix to help heal the injury so he could stay on the roster and compete for a job. After the suspensions were handed down in August, Cervelli traveled to deliver a personal message and apology to manager Joe Girardi because he felt like he let everyone down with his mistakes.
"I went to the stadium to talk to him because the team, maybe they don't deserve all the distractions," Cervelli said. "This year's been so crazy with everything. I went there to apologize to him because he's one of the people that's believed in me, gave me the chance, and he's a gentleman."
With the 2013 season now over for the team for almost two weeks now, Cervelli has been at the team's complex down in Tampa, trying to get healthy and get back to where he felt he was strongest for the team so that he can try to play winter ball in November and is hopeful to have a chance to make the team in spring training, something that is not guaranteed since he missed most of the regular season with his injuries and then the suspension.
Cervelli is arbitration eligible this offseason, although catcher is an area the team needs to address in the winter, as everyone the team had on the roster simply did not cut it in the regular season and could either look to the free agent market or potentially trade for someone in 2014.
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