NEW YORK -- Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli sported a rather unorthodox top as he made his way to the underground batting cages on Friday. He tried hitting in a customized Italy soccer jersey, personalized with his name and the No. 29.
"Italy all the way," said Cervelli, whose father, Manuel, is of Italian descent.
Cervelli said that he ordered the jersey on the Internet, but of course, he earned the one hanging in his closet at home. Cervelli represented Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
The Yankees have organized a World Cup pool in their clubhouse, and some players have gone so far as to purchase the jerseys of their respective teams. For example, A.J. Burnett drew Paraguay and had a jersey waiting on his locker chair, adorned with his name and No. 34 on the back.
Cervelli's heart might be with Italy, but he is also going to be cheering for Cameroon, whose name was on the slip of paper he drew. Coaching assistant Brett Weber drew Italy, and Cervelli knew better than to try to work out a trade.
"That would take a lot," Cervelli said.