Dec 22, 2009, 3:54 PM EDT
Francisco Cervelli is seemingly the favorite to replace free agent Jose Molina as Jorge Posada’s backup, but the Yankees have brought in some veteran competition in the form of Mike Rivera.
Rivera spent last season backing up Jason Kendall in Milwaukee, drawing a grand total of just 31 starts while hitting .228/.326/.346. He’s shown more pop than that in the past, hitting .276/.338/.465 with nine homers and 14 doubles in 242 plate appearances from 2006-2008, and also averaged 26 homers per 500 at-bats in various stints at Triple-A.
He’s also 33 years old and not especially strong defensively, which is why Rivera could manage only a minor-league deal and Cervelli remains the favorite to be Posada’s caddy in 2010. Cervelli held his own in 101 plate appearances with the Yankees last season, hitting .298/.309/.372 as a 23-year-old rookie, and projects as a solid on-base threat after hitting .273/.367/.380 in the minors.
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