NEW YORK -- Francisco Cervelli has been breaking in a first baseman's glove since Spring Training, and he had a chance to test it out in a big league game on Tuesday, when Cervelli started at first base for the Yankees against the Orioles.
With Mark Teixeira on the 15-day disabled list, manager Joe Girardi is trying to be creative with his lineups. Girardi believes that Cervelli can be a serviceable backup for Kelly Johnson, who is sitting against left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
"In this game, you can't be surprised," Cervelli said. "I've been catching ground balls everywhere. I feel like if everybody got hurt, who's going to play? I'll do the best I can."
Cervelli, the Yanks' backup catcher, has played six career Major League games in the infield -- four at third base and two at second base.
"I've seen him take a lot of ground balls over the years that he's been here," Girardi said. "From what I've watched, he has been able to take ground balls and make it look pretty easy. I know it's a transition. It's not something that I have to stay with the whole game, necessarily."
Cervelli said the last time he played first base in a game was when he was about 15 years old, but he has adjusted to new positions before. He said he was a shortstop, third baseman and pitcher when the Yankees signed him out of Venezuela and turned him into a catcher.
"It's not like I feel like Mark Teixeira or something like that, but I think I'm going to be more comfortable with more games," Cervelli said. "I think it's like any other position. You've just got to be ready. If I feel like I cannot catch the ball, I'm going to block it."