New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli had a "stress reaction" in his right elbow and has been shut down for at least two weeks as a result, reports Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger. The setback will likely push the backstop's return to the Bronx into August, according to manager Joe Girardi.
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Cervelli, 27, has been on the sidelines since a foul tip broke his right hand on April 26. The catcher underwent a small procedure to repair his hand a few days after the injury and has been on the road to recovery since then. He was making solid progress in his rehab -- e.g. he hit live batting practice for the first time on Monday -- but now it seems he'll have to put everything on hold.
A stress reaction is typically the final stage before declaring a full-on stress fracture and is an indicator of bone fatigue. It is unclear what caused the damage in Cervelli's elbow, but the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Barbarisi suggests that it is an aggravation of an old injury.
Without Cervelli on the roster, the Yankees have had to rely on Chris Stewart and Austin Romine behind the plate. The pair has put up solid defensive numbers, but they are barely hitting their own weight in the batter's box. New York's catchers (including Cervelli) are hitting a collective .225/.292/.324 on the season, good for the second-worst OPS (.617) at the position in the American League.
Strictly a backup prior to this season, Cervelli was exceeding expectations both at and behind the plate this year before his broken hand derailed things. He was batting .269/.377/.500 with three long balls in 27 games and threw out two of four would-be base-stealers.