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Cervelli gets medical clearance to play

Cervelli gets medical clearance to play

TAMPA, Fla. -- Francisco Cervelli appears to have avoided a serious medical setback.

Cervelli, who suffered his second concussion in four months on Saturday, received clearance from a neurologist Monday to resume baseball activities. He will do so Tuesday, catching a bullpen session and taking batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. And if he comes away from that without any recurrence of symptoms, he could play in a Grapefruit League game as soon as Friday.

"He got a good report today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "So we're happy with that."

That's certainly fine news for Cervelli, who left Saturday's game against the Blue Jays and was taken to the hospital after being struck in the helmet by a pitch. The incident came roughly four months after Cervelli was hit in nearly the same spot and suffered a concussion during a Winter League game in his native Venezuela.

After feeling fine Sunday and Monday morning, however, Cervelli visited a local neurologist who cleared him to resume baseball activities. The Yankees will remain cautious with their presumed backup catcher, keeping him out of Grapefruit League action until they feel he is ready. But as long as Cervelli does not experience a setback, he could be behind the plate Friday afternoon against the Nationals.

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"I think we're always cautious with this stuff," general manager Brian Cashman said. "Everybody takes this stuff very seriously."

Cervelli, who played in 42 games last season as the Yankees' third catcher, is the favorite to win the backup catching job vacated by Jose Molina. But he has not received any guarantees of making the team, giving him incentive to rush back onto the field.

The Yankees are aiming to ensure that won't happen.

"I trust our people," Cashman said of his medical staff. "That's what they're there for. We don't feel like we know everything."

Bombers bits: Chan Ho Park skipped his scheduled batting-practice session Monday after experiencing tightness in his glute. He should take the mound either Tuesday or Wednesday instead. "I'm day-to-day," Park said ... Nick Johnson reported no ill effects in his first game back from a stiff lower back. Starting at designated hitter against the Phillies, Johnson finished 0-for-2 with a walk. "No grab, no nothing," he said. "I got loosened up before and felt good."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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