- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Francisco Cervelli is finally back with the Yankees, and ready to enjoy the luxuries that come with being in the major leagues.
“When you drive back to NYC and see all the buildings, it’s like the first time I got called up,” said Cervelli, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to Saturday afternoon’s game against the Orioles. “I’m really excited.”
Granted, the 26-year-old backup catcher claims he’ll miss being a road warrior in the minors.
“I’m gonna miss the bus because it was my house,” Cervelli said, prompting laughter from reporters surrounding his locker, which happens to be right next to shortstop Derek Jeter.
“Here, we got airplanes, so it’s a little more comfortable. Everything is better here, but it was a really nice experience over there.”
Cervelli was upset that he didn’t make the Yankees out of spring training -- and made no bones about it.
“I was frustrated the whole month of April,” he said. “Everything was different. We had no home. The weather was really bad, it was really cold. But in May when my family came, they made me walk the line again, and realize how lucky I am to have a job still doing what I love to do which is play baseball, no matter where that is.”
With their ballpark being re-built, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has had to play its entire schedule this season away from home.
“Bus, hotels, check in, play, check out, that’s it,” Cervelli said. “So if you ask me for any hotel in any city, I know.”
Cervelli hit .246 with two homers and 39 RBIs in 99 minor-league games. But now he’s back in the majors, where he’s always thought he belonged.
“It was frustrating in the beginning, but after that you go to the positive side of everything and challenge yourself to get better and make adjustments,” Cervelli said. “My goal is to be a starting catcher one day, and I think this experience was the beginning of that.”
• Like Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez is also glad to be back in the bigs.
“We don’t have a home. We don’t have a stadium. It’s hard to play over there,” Nunez said, referring to life in the minors. “We live on the bus. It’s no fun to play over there.”
Nunez will DH and bat eighth on Saturday afternoon against the Orioles.
“I’m a power hitter,” he joked.
Nunez was sent down after committing four errors in 20 games, including two at third base.
The Yankees elected to keep him at shortstop in the minors, rather than have him play all over the field as a super-utility man.
Nunez hit .227 with 16 stolen bases in 38 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. More importantly, despite missing a month due to a thumb injury, he says he improved defensively.
“I think it’s much better because I played just one position,” Nunez said. “I’ve worked really hard on my defense.”
Said manager Joe Girardi: “He’s been playing well down there. I like the speed element that he brings to our club. Swinging the bat was not the issue when he went down. We just thought we wanted to play him at one position, and he played very well at shortstop.”
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