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Cervelli, Nova injured in Friday's win over Blue Jays

Catcher out six weeks with fractured hand, right-hander having MRI
04/27/2013 1:14 AM ET
By Joe Auriemma

Ivan Nova left Friday's game after pitching to two batters in the third inning.(AP)
NEW YORK -- The MASH unit just got bigger for the New York Yankees, as they lost two key players to injury in Friday's game against the Blue Jays.

Francisco Cervelli left after being hit by a foul ball square on his hand, and Ivan Nova exited in the third inning with an apparent sore elbow/triceps muscle.

Cervelli had been a wonderful surprise to start the season. The Yankees' primary catcher, he was hitting .269 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 16 games. More importantly, his defense had greatly improved since he was up in the Majors two seasons ago. He had added much-needed pop to a position that many critics thought was going to be a weak spot in the Yankees' lineup coming into this season.

Things were not right immediately when he left the game, then word had come that Triple-A catcher Austin Romine was taken out his game in Scranton mid-inning. It was revealed after tests that Cervelli had a fractured right hand, which will require a surgical procedure.

The catcher is done for at least the next six weeks.

"It's disappointing, and I know it's really disappointing for him because of all that he's been through to get to this point," Girardi said. "My heart goes out to him. It's going to make him stronger and it's going to make him better. He's going to have to wait a little while to play, but we'll get him there."

Chris Stewart entered the game and will be taking most of the catching reps in Cervelli's absence. Stewart himself is having a bit of an offensive renaissance and is always a force defensively behind the plate. He threw out another two runners Friday night.

"Anytime anyone goes down especially, you've got a lot of guys down already, it's tough," Stewart said. "We've got guys that can do the job and we're going to have to do that."

Stewart and Cervelli had a nice platoon going to start this season, but Romine, a prospect who has been talked about for years in the Yankees' farm system, will finally get his crack at the Major League level. Romine was hitting .333 with one home run and four RBIs in Scranton, and he should provide a nice compliment to Stewart.

"He's got a lot of talent," Stewart said of Romine. "It's just a matter of getting him the experience up here and getting the feel for our guys again and getting in the flow of how we do things and I don't think it's going to take him too long."

This is a tough blow for the already injury-shaken Yankees, who have now lost their starting centerfielder, first baseman, shortstop and third baseman, as well as replacement third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who could be back soon.

The rotation also may have been affected.

In the third inning, starter Ivan Nova was removed from the game with an apparent elbow injury. Girardi later defined the ailment as what he thought was a triceps injury. An MRI was to be taken and the results are still pending.

"He talked about it a little after the second inning," Girardi said. "He wanted to go back out there and try and we saw the first two hitters in the third and just decided and went out there and asked him. He said he wasn't going to go."

Nova's velocity had taken a dip in the third inning and he just didn't seem comfortable, which is why the Yankees wouldn't chance it any further.

"Just in between innings we heard he was a little tender," Stewart said of Nova. "Joe told me to keep an eye out and I didn't really notice anything, but his stuff wasn't as sharp. But as far as velocity he seemed alright. He just wasn't feeling right."

The injuries continue to pile up, but once again the Yankees won another big game against a division rival. The 6-4 victory had it all: timely hitting, good work from the bullpen and a Mariano Rivera save. More importantly, the 13-9 Yankees continue to win despite getting bitten by the injury bug.

"Injuries is part of the game," Girardi said. "It's part of life. I'm sure everyone in here can attest that life doesn't always go the way we want it to sometimes, but that's part of it. When you are able to accomplish things and are able to go out and win games, that's very satisfying."

Follow Joe Auriemma on Twitter: @JoeAuriemmaYES

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