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04/17/10 1:24 PM ET

CC-Cervelli combination producing results

Though not a permanent pair, southpaw and backup work well

NEW YORK -- As well as CC Sabathia and Francisco Cervelli have teamed up early in the season, manager Joe Girardi isn't ready to pair the two together on a consistent basis.

Cervelli has caught Sabathia's past two starts, in which the southpaw looked dominant. Sabathia was four outs away from a no-hitter against Tampa Bay last Saturday, and he threw just 15 balls in 73 pitches in shutting down Texas on Friday night.

Over the past two seasons, Sabathia is 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 12 starts with Cervelli behind the plate. Even more impressive, though, is opponents' .179 batting average in those games.

"It's a pleasure being behind the plate when he's pitching," Cervelli said after Friday's win. "He did everything. I put the glove out, and that's it."

Sabathia has been impressed by his battery mate's desire to continually improve.

"He wants to learn," Sabathia said. "He's always asking questions. He wants to go over the first couple of hitters of the inning every inning. I think that helps out a lot. He watches a lot of video, and he's pretty sure of himself when he calls a pitch, so that helps."

Granderson accepts Marvin Miller Award

NEW YORK -- Before Saturday's game with the Rangers, Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson was awarded the 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award from the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The award was presented by Mark Teixeira, Granderson's teammate and a member of the MLBPA's executive board.

The award is named after the former executive director of the players' union and honors performance on and off the field. Granderson was selected by a secret ballot of all Major League players.

"It's amazing that not only my recent teammates in Detroit knew what was going on, but other players around the league also knew," Granderson said. "That's a big thing, because they're not around me all the time. Somehow, someway they caught wind of some of the things I was doing and thought me worthwhile to vote for."

Aside from slugging a career-high 30 home runs in 2009, Granderson released a children's book and continued working with his Grand Kids Foundation, which promotes baseball and education in inner cities.

Granderson beat out fellow finalists Torii Hunter and Albert Pujols for the award.

Yanks producing without Tex, A-Rod at best

NEW YORK -- Most times, when a team's third and fourth hitters haven't hit a home run through 10 games, that team isn't in first place.

The Yankees, of course, aren't most teams.

Even as Mark Teixeira has endured his characteristic April swoon and Alex Rodriguez has yet to hit a home run, the Bronx Bombers sit alone in first in the American League East and lead the league with 5.7 runs per game.

The offense has been sustained by the hitters behind Teixeira and Rodriguez, starting with Robinson Cano. Moved into the fifth slot in the order this season, Cano has a hit in all 10 games thus far and leads the team with four home runs and nine RBIs.

"We expected to have a lineup that we'd get contributions from everywhere, but the bottom five have been tremendous for us this year," manager Joe Girardi said. "You can't expect the first four guys to do it every day. It has to be production from everywhere, or you're not going to win too many games."

Curtis Granderson hasn't had any problems hitting in the bottom third of the order after spending most of his career in Detroit in the leadoff spot. The Yankees' center fielder has RBIs in five of his past six games and is tied for second on the team with seven runs driven in this season.

"You're never going to have all 1 through 9 hit consistently," Granderson said. "Part of being a successful team is picking up guys that aren't necessarily performing the way they're capable of. The tides are going to turn. They'll be picking us up as well."

For his part, Girardi doesn't have long-term concerns about the struggles of his sluggers in the middle of the order. Although Rodriguez has yet to leave the yard, he's still knocked in six runs. Teixeira, meanwhile, has a long history of slow starts in April.

Girardi does want to make sure Teixeira doesn't overreact to his problems this early in the season.

"Mechanically, he's a little off right now. And that's where you worry about him a little mentally, that he might try to change too much," Girardi said. "We just have to fix that little glitch, and he'll get better."

Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.