Afternoon notes: CC, Cervy and Pronk

March, 15, 2013
3/15/13
6:41
PM ET
Francisco Cervelli, Ronnier MustelierKim Klement/USA TODAY SportsFrancisco Cervelli blasted a solo home run during the second inning of the Yankees' 7-3 victory.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees beat the Miami Marlins, 7-3, today in a game mostly notable for the return of CC Sabathia to the mound for the first time since undergoing an elbow cleanout in the off-season. But they also showed some power, getting one home run from a guy who's supposed to hit home runs, and one from a guy who hardly ever does.

SUPER CERV: Francisco Cervelli, who has hit five HRs in 490 major-league at-bats spread over five seasons, went yard on John Maine in the second inning. "Wait another 300 at bats and maybe I'll hit another one," Cervelli joked afterward. Cervelli is locked in a competition for the starting catcher's job with Chris Stewart, who also has one HR this spring. And although Joe Girardi has said the job will be won on the basis of defense, Cervelli knows a little offense can't hurt.

"If I go 0-for-4 and we win the game and my defense was good I go home happy," he said. "But if I can put some numbers offensively, I think I'm going to be little more happy."

PRONX BOMBER: Travis Hafner was signed to be the lefthanded DH with some power, and he showed some in the third inning when he crushed a Maine offering over the right field fence with Ichiro Suzuki aboard to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. It was his first home run in 23 spring at-bats; his career high was 42 in 2006 with Cleveland. "We expect him to be significantly productive," Girardi said. "As you look at it right now, he's probably going to be in the middle of our order, so we need him to be productive."

MINOR TWEAKS: Girardi said OF Slade Heathcott was suffering from patellar tendinitis and would be out a couple of days and that Stewart had taken a foul tip off his right shoulder but would be OK to catch one of the two split-squad games the Yankees are playing Saturday.

LET'S PLAY TWO: The Yankees host the Phillies in a 12:05 p.m. game on Saturday with Hiroki Kuroda starting and most of the regulars, including Derek Jeter, in the lineup. Then, at 5:05 p.m., the B-team plays the Atlanta Braves at Disney with David Phelps starting. Girardi said he would stay in Tampa to manage the first game and then jump in a car for the 75-minute drive to Lake Buena Vista for the nightcap.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146