New Yankee Manager Joe Girardi Displeased With Rays Hard Play
March 10, 2008
(Long Island, N.Y.) New York Yankees General Manager Joe Girardi expressed his displeasure over the Tampa Bay Rays for their hard play in spring training which resulted in Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli breaking his wrist at home plate in a collision with the Ray’s Elliot Johnson.
“I think it’s uncalled for,” Girardi said. “It’s Spring Training. You get people hurt, and that’s what we’ve got — we’ve got Cervelli hurt. I know they had an incident four or five days ago. I’m all for playing hard, but I don’t think it’s the time when you run over a catcher in Spring Training. I’ve always known that you don’t do it; I know kids are playing aggressive and playing hard. That’s how you want them to play. But maybe if it happens too much, you should mention something.”
The crushing hit occurred last Saturday when the two teams met in a spring training game at Legends Field in Tampa FL. Elliot Johnson was rushing to home plate trying to capitalize off Willy Aybar’s double to left field when Yankees prospected catcher Francisco Cervelli attempted to tag him. Johnson delivered a devastating shoulder hit which he lowered in an attempt to pry the ball away from Cervelli resulting into a fractured wrist for the Yankee’s catcher.
Elliot Johnson, a roster hopeful for Tampa Bay’s regular season line-up as an infielder said, “I’m not trying to hurt anybody, especially in a Spring Training game,” Johnson said. “I hope he doesn’t lose his job. But I’m trying to show these guys what I can do. I’m just trying to score the run. Looking back on it, I’d have to say I’d probably do the same thing. With the time that I had there, the instinct was to slide and be out, or hit him and see if I could pop the ball loose,”
Francisco Cervelli is an international prospect for the Yankees from Venezuela. He was signed on 2003 by New York but was relegated to the minors after struggling in his first year with the team. Then manager Joe Torre for New York projected the 22-year old Cervelli as the future catcher for the Yankees.
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