Francisco Cervelli had another hard luck season in 2013. After a hot start in April, he suffered a broken hand and was never heard from again until he was officially suspended for taking steroids.
He finally opened up about taking steroids after claiming he only consulted with Biogenesis. It turns out that Cervelli took steroids in order to get back onto the field quicker after breaking his foot on a foul ball back in March of 2011.
"I felt so many times in my career a little scared I'm going to lose my job...Every year I have to go to spring training and fight for a job."
Although he wouldn't name anyone specifically, he says that he surrounded himself with the wrong people.
"Sometimes you listen to people who have nothing to lose; that's dangerous," he said. "When you're desperate or anxious or scared, that's when you have to step back, slow down and think about what can happen in the future with your actions in the present."
He went to Yankee Stadium at one point during the season in order to apologize personally to Joe Girardi. It's not clear how, or if, he has approached his Yankee teammates.
Cervelli had two more surgeries on his hand over the season, the last time being on August 5, the day the Biogenesis suspensions were announced. His hand is still swollen, but it may be due to scar tissue. He's been catching bullpen sessions down in Tampa and is working on his hitting and throwing. He says that he hopes to be ready to play winter ball by mid-November. It seemed he was more likely to be released than anything else, but if the Yankees want to keep him, winter ball will go a long way in helping him prepare for a season where he could be very useful to a depleted team.
He has since taken on a mentor role with the younger players, trying to teach them about the choices they make.
"I talked to all the kids here in the rookie league, just be careful with your circle and the people around you, especially the people that have nothing to lose because they don't care if you fail or are a success," he said. "I'm not going to tell anybody what they have to do, what decisions they have to make. Prevent a little bit about when you're desperate, anxious or whatever, what bad decisions you can make, so just be careful. Just listen to your heart and listen to good people."
There's no telling who he might be referring to when he talks about the bad people around him. Is he a teammate with the Yankees? In the minors? a coach? or could it just be a friend from outside the organization? We will probably never know, but it's nice to see Cervelli try to teach those around him not to make the same mistakes he made.
Though what we know about the situation is very limited, it seems that Cervelli may have used PEDs to heal from an injury and nothing more. If Andy Pettitte has earned a free pass for trying to get back faster, Cervelli should be given the same reprieve, but this is just all hypothetical right now.