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."
Left-hander Cabral added to Yanks' bullpen
NEW YORK -- The Yankees recalled left-hander Cesar Cabral from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, replacing right-hander David Robertson on the active roster.
Cabral, 25, made one relief appearance for the RailRiders this season after pitching 9 1/3 scoreless Grapefruit League innings for New York this spring. He was in contention to make the Opening Day roster until late in camp.
"[Cabral] is rested, and we're seeing some pretty tough left-handed hitters this week," manager Joe Girardi said. "We feel like he can help us."
Cabral came into the game in relief of starter Ivan Nova on Tuesday. He allowed one hit, walked one and recorded one out.
Girardi said he was not sure if he would be able to use left-hander Matt Thornton on Tuesday. Thornton threw just three pitches in Monday's 4-2 win over the Orioles.
"Obviously, [Thornton] pitched yesterday," Girardi said. "He had been up [in the bullpen] a couple of times the other day, the day before that."
Minus Robertson, Yanks feel 'pen up to task
NEW YORK -- Navigating the late innings will be more challenging for the Yankees while they are without closer David Robertson, but catcher Brian McCann has confidence that the club's bullpen has what it takes to get the job done.
"Those guys, the only thing they haven't done is get the experience of the eighth inning, ninth inning, pitching late in ballgames," McCann said. "They have good stuff, which can play no matter what the inning."
The Yankees got a good look at one possible blueprint in Monday's 4-2 win over the Orioles. Left-hander Matt Thornton and right-hander David Phelps pitched out of a seventh-inning jam by each recording an out, stranding two men on base.
Adam Warren pitched around a leadoff walk to work a scoreless eighth, and Shawn Kelley pitched a perfect ninth inning for his first career save. They'll have to find a new route on Tuesday, as Girardi said that Kelley wouldn't be available to pitch because he has worked in back-to-back games.
The Yankees have been pleased by what they have seen thus far from Warren, who enjoyed a solid spring and has seen his velocity tick up with the move to the bullpen.
"I definitely felt like I had more energy [Monday], and it's kind of a neat feeling," Warren said. "Just that little bit of extra energy, and then the crowd starts getting excited -- it definitely gets you more adrenaline, and you get a little more amped up for it."
Warren said that it is a blow for the Yankees to lose Robertson, but the members of the bullpen believe that they will be able to handle things during his absence.
"We're going to try to step up and fill that void, for that little brief period of time," Warren said. "We're not worried about it. We keep passing the baton to each other, worry about executing pitches, and the rest will take care of itself."
• The Yankees toyed with giving Alfonso Soriano some reps at first base this spring, but manager Joe Girardi said that they shelved the idea because Soriano was sidelined by an extended illness early in camp.
• On this date in 2003, Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam in his Yankee Stadium debut, leading the Yankees to a 7-3 win over the Twins.