Cervelli upbeat a day after diagnosis

New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett talks with

New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett talks with catcher Francisco Cervelli, left, after throwing pitches in the bullpen during a spring training workout. (Feb. 15, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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TAMPA, Fla. - Francisco Cervelli thinks maybe he should change his birthday.

Cervelli turns 25 Sunday, and during spring training each of the last four years, he's brought members of his family to Tampa to celebrate.

And each year he's suffered some kind of malady, including the broken left foot that will keep him in a protective boot for at least the next four weeks.

The injury very well could cost him a spot on the big-league roster coming out of camp. The organization's top prospect, Jesus Montero, seems poised to win the job, with another top prospect, Austin Romine, also in the mix.

"I was a little sad yesterday, but I talked to my mom. It's good when I have my family here," Cervelli said Saturday, speaking about the diagnosis for the first time since receiving it Friday. "Today's different. I'm positive. A lot of people in the world, they don't have legs, they don't have arms. I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot. It's going to be OK."

But Cervelli, who had been acquitting himself well in the battle with Montero and Romine to be Russell Martin's backup, is unlikely to have a job waiting for him when he returns.

"I hope [there's a job], but if not, I'll fight again," Cervelli said. "This is me. I have to fight every year for something. I'm not going to cry because somebody's going to take my job. No, I'm going to charge back."

During the offseason, Cervelli spent two months working out with and learning from Robinson Cano in the Dominican Republic. Cervelli, who showed up at camp noticeably leaner, doesn't consider that work a waste.

"I'm stronger now," he said.

He plans on being at camp every day and doing whatever he can physically while wearing the protective boot.

"I'm not going to be sitting in my house," he said. "I'm going to be working my upper body every day, throwing. The time they take off the boot, I'll be ready to go."

Cervelli suffered a broken wrist in 2008, caught pneumonia in 2009 and suffered a concussion on his birthday last season when the Blue Jays' Zech Zinicola beaned him.

"I think I'm going to change my birthday now," Cervelli said, smiling. "Unbelievable. Things happen."

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