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Injury muddies Yanks' backup catching spot

TAMPA — Yankees backup C Francisco Cervelli will be in a protective boot for at least four weeks because of a broken left foot, and it's uncertain when he will be able to play again, the team said Friday.

Cervelli was hurt when he fouled a ball off his foot Wednesday; the break is above the toes.

Test results will be reviewed by a foot specialist.

"How long it would take after, if it was healed, you don't know," manager Joe Girardi said before a 5-3 loss to the Red Sox.

Girardi said there are no plans to use Jorge Posada, who is moving from catcher to designated hitter, behind the plate in spring games.

Jesus Montero, Austin Romine and Gustavo Molina are the contenders to back up starter Russell Martin, who is hitless in nine at-bats so far.

Good Outing: RHP Bartolo Colon allowed two hits and struck out five in three innings vs. Red Sox backups. The 2005 AL Cy Young winner, who was out of baseball last year, is trying to earn a rotation spot.

Soriano session: RHP Rafael Soriano, the former Rays closer turned setup man, threw 20 pitches in a batting practice session. Three of 11 swings resulted in the ball being put in play. "Probably as many swings and misses in a batting practice session as I've ever seen," Girardi said.

Jays: Litsch shines

KISSIMMEE — RHP Jesse Litsch, a Pinellas Park native and former Rays bat boy, fared well in his second spring start, shutting out the Braves over three innings in a 7-5 victory. He struck out four, allowing one hit.

"We have two spots in the rotation up for grabs," manager John Farrell said. "If he keeps going like this, he has a great chance."

Litsch was 1-5 in nine starts last season, but Farrell said he sees a new pitcher this year. "The competition is still open, but he made a statement," he said.

Phils: Shaky, but okay

BRADENTON — RHP Joe Blanton didn't let a handful of early hits get in the way of having a productive outing.

Blanton allowed two runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings as the Phillies beat the Pirates 7-4.

"I would have liked to finish that inning, definitely, but I feel more comfortable, which is a positive step at this time," said Blanton, the fifth starter in the vaunted rotation.

He gave up a one-out double in the first inning then three singles. But Blanton retired the next eight batters.

First Time out: LHP Antonio Bastardo, who had soreness in his throwing elbow, made his spring debut for the Phillies and earned the save with two strikeouts in a hitless ninth.

Short Hops: 1B Ryan Howard hit a tiebreaking homer for the Phillies in the sixth inning. Howard and SS Jimmy Rollins each got two hits. … The Phillies took the lead with three runs in the seventh inning against Fernando Nieve and Michael Dubee, son of Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee.

.Fast facts

Blue Jays

Where: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Tickets: (727) 733-0429 or bluejays.mlb.com

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Tickets: (727) 467-4457 or phillies.mlb.com

Yankees

Where: Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa

Tickets: (813) 879-2244 or yankees.mlb.com

Injury muddies Yanks' backup catching spot 03/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 10:53pm]

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