Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Peña and Cervelli Making Most of Their Opportunity

There's one moment from tonight's game that keeps cropping up in my mind, even a couple hours after it's over.

It's in the ninth inning; there are two outs with Carlos Gomez at first in a one run game, and Phil Coke is struggling to throw strikes.

Instead of, say, Jeter and Canó heading out to the mound to calm Phil Coke, it's Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Peña.

The two youngsters, of course, if everything goes to plan, should never have been in a major league game this year, at least, not as starters and, with the exception of Peña's late-inning glove, certainly not in the ninth inning of a one-run game with the tying run on base.

And yet, here they are, saying whatever words of wisdom they can to settle a pitcher trying for his very first major league save.

Peña and Cervelli are not, at least yet, marquee players, and they're not really expected to be. Cervelli will probably be overshadowed by either Jesus Montero or Austin Romine within a few years (or less), and Peña doesn't even rank on Baseball America's prospect radar.

Yet, here they are, and here they are playing better than anyone expected.

Neither is the automatic out they were expected to be; both do all the little things right, and both are positively beaming every time they are interviewed after the game.

While Peña will probably stay on the 25 man roster as long as Alex Rodriguez is still a little gimpy (and, face it, he inspires more confidence than Angel Berroa), the future for Cervelli is less certain after Jorge Posada and Jose Molina return. It's unlikely that the Yankees would want to carry three catchers, especially if they can send Cervelli to AAA (I doubt they send him all the way back to AA) where he can play every day. It's entirely possible that if Posada and Molina are a bit gimpy, Cervelli hops the Chris Britton express.

While they're still in New York, however, they've done everything asked of them and then some.

And they've made the team fun to watch in the process.