Cervy: I'm not Mark Teixeira

April, 8, 2014
4/08/14
12:20
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The last time Francisco Cervelli played first base in a game he was 15. The early scouting report on him at the position is: Inexperienced, but a good sense of humor.

"If I feel I can't catch the ball, I'm going to block it," said Cervelli, normally a catcher.

With Mark Teixeira on the disabled list, Joe Girardi is starting Cervelli against the lefty Wei-Yin Chen on Tuesday.

Kelly Johnson, the other "first baseman" on the roster, is sitting as the hot-hitting Yangervis Solarte earns another start at third.

Cervelli has never played first in the majors or the minors. Growing up, he wasn't a catcher, dancing around the diamond from shortstop to third base to the pitcher's mound and a little first base.

"It is not like I feel like Mark Teixeira or something like that," Cervelli said. "I think I'm going to be comfortable playing first."

In 2013, Cervelli appeared at second base for the Yankees in one game.

"I'm happy because the manager can give me the opportunity and the confidence to play first base," Cervelli said. "If he thinks I can do it, I have to be positive about it."

Cervelli often takes grounders all around the infield during pregame, just in case. Considering what the Yankees went through last season, it would seem to make sense to have had Cervelli play the infield in an actual exhibition game so he would have a better feel. Why didn't he?

"We had a competition for catching, No. 1," Giardi said, referring to Cervelli beating out Austin Romine, who is now also on the big league roster. "No. 2, we thought it was important that he got to know the pitchers, as well."

The Yankees chose not to call up Russ Canzler, who is at Triple-A and is not on the 40-man roster. If they called up Canzler, they could lose a player on the 40-man through a trade or waivers to make room. The experiment to have Alfonso Soriano ran out of time, Girardi said, because Soriano began the spring sick and never could fully catch up.

So, it's Cervelli.

"I'm not nervous," Cervelli said. "I'm happy because I'm in the lineup."
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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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