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Friday, May 17, 2013
First Pitch: Is Francisco the odd man out?

By Matt Ehalt

The Ben Francisco era might be coming to an end.

After catcher Chris Stewart suffered a left groin injury Thursday, which means he could potentially miss time, the Yankees are likely going to have to make a move to get another catcher on the 40-man roster for Friday's game.

The Yankees currently only have three catchers on the 40-man roster in Stewart, backup Austin Romine, and Francisco Cervelli, who is currently on the disabled list. To add another catcher, they will either have to release a player or move an injured player to the 60-day disabled list.

The Yankees currently have four players on the 15-day disabled list: reliever Joba Chamberlain (oblique), starter Ivan Nova (biceps), infielder Eduardo Nunez (oblique) and third baseman Kevin Youkilis (back). There has been no indication that any of these players will be sidelined for several more months, so there likely wouldn't be a need to move any of them to the 60-day list.

That leaves releasing a player as the likely option, and leaves Francisco as the top choice. The Yankees currently have five outfielders on the roster, and the other four of Curtis Granderson, Vernon Wells, Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner aren't going anywhere. That leaves Francisco, who has five hits in 40 at-bats this season with just one homer and RBI, as the man likely to be released.

Even if Stewart only needs a day or two, the team can't afford to be without a true backup catcher for those games he's out. If Stewart goes on the 15-day disabled list, the team still needs to get a catcher on the 40-man to promote.

If Stewart were placed on the 60-day disabled list, which doesn't seem likely at this point, that would eliminate the need to release a player, but Stewart's loss would create a much deeper effect than any potential release.

The likely call-up for any move would be Bobby Wilson, who was hitting .174 with two homers and 13 RBIs for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as of Thursday.

UP NOW: The Yankees lost 3-2 as Pettitte and Stewart were injured. Chamberlain didn't get called up and Brett Gardner had two steals in the ninth. There were updates about the injured stars.

ON DECK: The Yankees face the Blue Jays on Friday. Mark Buehrle (1-2, 6.19 ERA) will be opposed by the Yankees' best starter this year, Hiroki Kuroda (5-2, 2.31). Kieran Darcy will have the coverage in the Bronx.

YOU'RE UP: How concerned are you about Andy Pettitte and Chris Stewart?