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Austin Romine Era Begins in New York

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Minutes after New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli was pulled from Friday's game after suffering a broken hand against the Toronto Blue Jays, Austin Romine was pulled in the middle of an inning from the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate's game.

Saturday, Romine is expected to join the Yankees in New York in what's expected to mark the beginning of a new era at the Yankees' catching position.

Twice named to Baseball America's list of Top 100 prospects, the 24-year-old Romine was batting .341 (.400 OBP and .415 SLG) in 45 plate appearances at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

After a disappointing performance at the Arizona Fall League, Romine raised eyebrows when he came to spring training 13 pounds lighter than last year, owing his trimmed down physique to cutting junk food from his diet. Soon after, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that that Romine was in the mix to for the 2013 starting catcher job; however, Romine didn't exactly have an impressive spring, going 2-for-9 over 8 eights.

The Yankees' 2nd-round draft pick in 2007 had a taste of the major leagues in 2011, when he played in nine games as a September call-up. Last year, an injury limited him to 31 games across three minor league levels, where he hit a combined .243 (.333 OBP, .741 OPS).

Cervelli, meanwhile, can't catch a break. A good break, that is.

Since first joining the Yankees in 2010, he's been hampered by injuries. Before Friday night, when he was struck on the hand by a foul tip, his latest occurred in December. While playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, he suffered a whiplash injury on a foul tip (he was catching). In previous offseasons, he's suffered a concussion and a broken foot.

Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.

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