TAMPA, Fla. -- The announcement that Eric Chavez has been added to the Yankees' 25-man roster was just a formality. All the backup infielder needed to do to make the team during spring training was show he could stay healthy.

But although it became apparent last week that this would be the case, it was jarring that both of their highly touted catching prospects, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, will start this season where they ended the last one -- in the minors.

"That one [choice] was pretty evident with the spring that he had,'' Girardi said of Chavez, who hit .405 in 17 games and played more than capably at third base and first base. "We feel that he's healthy and we feel it's a good bat for a day that we rest [Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira] . . . Really pleased with what he did.''

But though he didn't say it, that wasn't necessarily the case with Montero and Romine.

Montero, considered the organization's top prospect, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre. Romine, not rated as highly but still looked at as a potential top-tier major-league catcher, was optioned to Double-A Trenton.

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