Who is Gustavo Molina and why is he about to be a Yankee?

As Inigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride, “Let me explain. No there is too much. Let me sum up.”

Francisco Cervelli got hurt in spring training (again) and Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are not quite ready for prime time. So with Opening Day only six days away, there is only one catcher in Yankee camp with major league experience. (That’s Jorge Posada. Back to him in a minute.)

Which brings us to Gustavo Molina. 29 years old, native of Venezuela, 23 games of big league experience with the White Sox, Orioles, Mets, and Red Sox. And no, he’s not one of THOSE Molinas. Despite walking around with a chest protector and shin guards, Gustavo is no relation to Bengie, Jose, or Yadier.

How did Montero lose his grip on an Opening Day roster spot which seemed locked up two weeks ago? Let’s just say the young lad has improved, but is still just a tick behind on the development ladder.

Listen here to Joe Girardi talk about Gustavo Molina and his thought process:

Francisco Cervelli could be back by the end of April if all goes well, so Molina’s stay might be short-lived. But a few weeks ago it looked as if Cervelli might get Wally Pipped by Montero. That day might still be coming in 2011, it just won’t happen on March 31st.

Meanwhile, Posada has gone through the entire spring without putting on a catcher’s mask, aside from a few bullpen sessions. His best position in 2011 is in the batter’s box, and the best way to make sure he gets there as often as possible is to keep him at DH. But it puts the Yankees in a pretty good position though—how many teams do you think have ever had an emergency third string catcher with over 1500 games behind the plate?

I remember when the Yankees emergency catcher was Luis Sojo. This is a little better.

Sweeny Murti

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