Cervelli Was Impressed with Luis Nunez (Above)
Francisco Cervelli was not a major factor on the championship winning Gulf Coast Yankee squad this year, but his first year in the U.S. was certainly a learning experience. Rather than playing full time, Cervelli was learning to be a catcher. We sat down with Francisco to discuss this, his impressions of his GCL Yankee teammates, and much more.
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PinstripesPlus.com: Francisco, coming to the U.S. is never an easy transition. What are your thoughts about your first season in America?
Francisco Cervelli: It is a different experience for me because in 2003 and 2004 I played in the Dominican Republic, obviously. I really like baseball in America though. The coaching staff here really was able to help me become a better player. And, I think I'm going to keep improving.
PinstripesPlus: Having professional coaches now, what type of things have they been able to help you with?
Cervelli: Before this year, I played shortstop and third base. And, for me, it was very difficult to learn to play catcher this season. But now, I really like playing there. In the Dominican, I learned some things. But now, I am being coached by people that can teach me so many things. These are just things about professional baseball and what to do about different things. And, most importantly, I just learned how to keep maturing as a ballplayer.
PinstripesPlus: Your team was great this year. Which of your teammates impressed you the most?
Cervelli: Luis Nunez, definitely. The guy is a great, great fielder. He can hit, run, field, everything. He is definitely one of the most impressive players from my team, in my opinion. But, overall, I just think our whole team was very impressive. It was a great team.
PinstripesPlus: What kind of player would you say you are. Do you have power? Do you hit for contact? And how is your defense?
Cervelli: I consider myself to be an aggressive player that brings a lot of energy to the game. As for my hitting, I think I'm a very good contact hitter and I can occasionally hit for power. That's something I'm going to work on. Right now, I'm really working on my defense too. That's very important to me.
PinstripesPlus: So what type of goals do you have for next season?
Cervelli: My goals are pretty simple. I want to improve my batting and work on different kinds of stuff with that. And, my defense will be important to. I just want to become more consistent as a catcher and remain an aggressive player.
PinstripesPlus: You did not play that much this season. Was that mostly because your were learning a new position?
Cervelli: No, not really. I didn't play because I had various different injuries I had to work through. But, for next season, I am going to work hard and make sure that I am able to play every game.
PinstripesPlus: Do you think you will play in the Gulf Coast League next season?
Cervelli: I don't believe that I will. My goal is to work very hard in the off season and move up to play in another league. That's what I am hoping for. But, if they decide to leave me in the Gulf Coast League, I will accept that. I just want to be able to play more.
PinstripesPlus: Which of the pitchers were the most impressive to you as the catcher?
Cervelli: Eric Wordekemper, definitely. He really impressed me. He has excellent control. And, there is also Francisco Castillo and Rolando Japa. Oh, they are very, very good. Both of them really improved throughout the season. Japa was very impressive. As for Castillo, he is not afraid to fire the ball. He throws very hard. Both of those guys are going to be really good.
PinstripesPlus: Catching good pitchers this year, do you think you were able to work with them well and help them while they pitched?
Cervelli: I like to feel like I was big part of helping the pitchers this year. The pitcher and catcher are a team. So, I think being the catcher that I was, I was able to help them. But, they deserve a lot of credit because we had some excellent pitchers on our team. I just give it all out there to help the pitcher succeed.
PinstripesPlus: What would it be like for you to wear the Yankee pinstripes someday?
Cervelli: If that happened, I would then be content because playing baseball is my life. Playing for a team like that would be amazing. And, I expect to play with the Yankees in the big leagues.
PinstripesPlus: What did you think about the ability of Jose Tabata as a player?
Cervelli: I think he is an excellent player. He can bat over .300. He can hit home runs. He can steal a lot of bases for you, too. In my opinion, he's going to arrive in the major leagues very quickly. And, he is very aggressive.
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