Chris Stewart of the New York Yankees.

Chris Stewart of the New York Yankees. Credit: Chris Stewart of the New York Yankees. (Getty Images)

For more than 20 years, the Yankees haven't had to worry about the plate production they would get from their catchers: Russell Martin and Jorge Posada were recent All-Stars; Joe Girardi could get on base; Mike Stanley and Matt Nokes hit for power.

All those men are gone - except for Girardi, the current Yankees manager - and after Martin left the Bronx to sign with the Pirates, the Yankees find themselves weak at the position once manned by Yogi Berra and Thurman Munson.

When pitchers and catchers report today in Tampa, Fla., the catcher competition between Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine begins.

Stewart is the only of the three to have appeared in more than three games last year and is known more for his defensive presence than his bat. Cervelli has shown in previous stints that he can hit in the majors, but hit just .246 with two homers in 99 Triple-A games last season. Romine, the youngest of the bunch, is the long shot.

Complicating Cervelli's situation is his link to BioGenesis Clinic, whose director Anthony Bosch is the target of a probe into the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs. However, don't be surprised if Cervelli earns the job anyway thanks to owning the best bat of the bunch.

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