04/04/12 5:50 PM ET
Yanks reward Phelps in more ways than one
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Phelps, 25, posted a 2.08 ERA in seven appearances (one start) during Grapefruit League play with New York. Because of an injury to right-hander Michael Pineda, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Phelps finished his spring by edging D.J. Mitchell and Adam Warren to serve as the club's long reliever.
"He had a very good camp," Girardi said. "They're all so close. It was a very difficult decision that really came down to the last day. They're so close; we just chose him. He's a guy that holds runners, has three or four pitches and performed well at Triple-A. His strikeout-to-walk ratio has been pretty good."
Mitchell and Warren will report instead to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Before the Yankees' 8-3 Grapefruit League victory over the Mets on Wednesday, Phelps was presented with the 2012 James P. Dawson Award, issued annually to the top rookie in Yankees spring camp.
Voted on by the Yankees' beat reporters, the award was established in honor of James P. Dawson (1896-1953), who began a 45-year career with The New York Times as a copy boy in 1908. Eight years later, he became boxing editor and covered boxing and baseball until his death during Spring Training in '53.
In conjunction with the award, Phelps received an Elysee watch from Manfredi Jewelers. Phelps received the award in a pregame ceremony from Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, representing the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Yanks add catcher Stewart, option Cervelli
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees completed a deal on Wednesday to address their organizational catching depth, acquiring veteran Chris Stewart from the Giants in exchange for right-hander George Kontos.
Because Stewart is out of Minor League options, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the 30-year-old right-handed hitter will be on the Opening Day roster as the backup catcher, with a stunned Francisco Cervelli being optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
W: Rodney (1-0) L: Rivera (0-1)
"It's not my decision, and that's it," Cervelli said. "I'm disappointed with this, but that's never going to change anything. All my life, I've had to do things, and I've had to do it double, triple. If they want me to prove that I can catch in the big leagues, I'll go and prove it, that I have to be here."
Cervelli homered on Wednesday in the Yankees' 8-3 Grapefruit League victory over the Mets, and he had been told all spring that he would be the backup catcher. Cashman said that a lingering disc injury to projected Triple-A catcher Austin Romine has impacted the club's depth.
"We feel that Cervelli is a Major League backup, without a doubt," Cashman said. "Now, we're back to where we were before the Romine injury, even though it's not a good situation for Cervy to go back to Triple-A. Organizationally, we're in a good place with Russell Martin, Stewart and Cervelli."
Stewart, 30, has hit .200 with a .273 on-base percentage and three home runs in 93 career Major League games, while throwing out 28 of 72 would-be basestealers.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that breaking the news to Cervelli was especially difficult. Cervelli was upset as he spoke with reporters and has been a popular figure on the Yankees' roster since being called up from the Minor Leagues in 2009.
"This was a tough one," Girardi said. "Our depth for catching, with Romine being hurt, was really thin. We know how quick it can happen for a catcher. It was tough. As tough as I've had to do."
The 26-year-old Kontos appeared in seven games as a reliever with the Yankees last season, posting a 3.00 ERA and striking out six batters in as many innings. In five Grapefruit League outings this year, Kontos worked 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball, striking out seven and walking one.
"I felt like I was in a good spot with this organization, whether or not I broke with the team," Kontos said. "I think I've showed enough this Spring Training and last season, when I pitched up there, that I was able to do it and hold my own. If it wasn't out of camp, I think it would have been soon, so hopefully, I'm in a better situation there, now that I'm headed that way."
MRI negative, Logan likely for Yanks' roster
TAMPA, Fla. -- Boone Logan showed up at Yankees camp on Wednesday looking like "the Hunchback of Notre Dame," according to general manager Brian Cashman, but the lefty's bout with back spasms will not keep him from making the Opening Day roster.
On Wednesday, Logan was sent for an MRI exam that came back negative, and the reliever is expected to be available to pitch on Friday, when New York will open its regular season against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
"I wish I had a story," Logan said. "It was a very easy off-day. I think the most I did was went to IHOP and ate breakfast. I thought it would go away, and it never did."
Logan posted a 3.24 ERA in 10 Grapefruit League appearances, spanning 8 1/3 innings. He will have some left-handed company in the bullpen this year, something that was a rarity last season; the Yankees will be carrying Clay Rapada as a second southpaw reliever. Rapada had a 0.90 ERA in 12 appearances this spring, spanning 10 innings.
"If you have two quality lefties, sometimes you need a lefty early on," Girardi said. "There are some big left-handed hitters in our division, so it just gives us more options."
The Yankees have signed right-hander Ramon Ortiz to a Minor League contract. Ortiz, 39, was recently released by the Giants. He pitched for the Cubs last year, going 1-2 with a 4.86 ERA in 22 games (two starts).
Outfielder Justin Maxwell was designated for assignment on Wednesday. Despite a solid spring, the 28-year-old Maxwell was out of Minor League options and did not have a good chance of making the club, since Andruw Jones is on board to serve as a designated hitter against left-handed pitching. Maxwell hit .310 (13-for-42) this spring.
Catcher Gustavo Molina will be assigned to Double-A Trenton, unless he asks for his release, Cashman said. Craig Tatum is in line to serve as Francisco Cervelli's backup for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees released infielder Bill Hall on Wednesday. The club also placed right-hander Joba Chamberlain (torn right medial collateral ligament and a right ankle dislocation), right-hander Brad Meyers (right labrum strain) and catcher Austin Romine (lower back strain) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 26.
The Yankees placed left-hander Cesar Cabral (left elbow fracture) and right-hander Michael Pineda (right rotator cuff tendinitis) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Saturday.