Francisco Cervelli makes dramatic debut with two doubles for Atlanta Braves
Francisco Cervelli said goodbye to Pittsburgh and hello to Atlanta. Hello, hello, hello.
Just two days after the charismatic catcher was released by the Pirates, Cervelli made a dramatic debut for the Braves with three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs in a 9-5 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday night.
In his first at-bat, Cervelli drove in two runs with a double. The Braves didn’t even seem to mind when he was caught in a run-down trying to take third base.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: new @Braves addition makes an immediate splash.
This time, catcher Francisco Cervellidrives in two in his first AB.pic.twitter.com/jqu0ghKtoz
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) August 24, 2019
Batting seventh and starting at catcher for the injured Brian McCann, Cervelli played his first major-league game since he was sidelined by a concussion on May 25. He went 3 for 5 to boost his season batting average to .211.
It was the sixth documented concussion of his career and third in a year, causing widespread concern within the Pirates organization. Rather than risk another concussion by allowing him to catch again, the Pirates gave Cervelli his unconditional release on Thursday and allowed him to sign with a contender.
“I was playing like a little kid,” Cervelli said. “That’s all that matters, man. From now on, just enjoy every game, every opportunity, and do what I have to do.”
The Braves (79-52) won their seventh consecutive game to extend their first-place lead in the NL East to six games. The Pirates (54-75) beat the Cincinnati Reds, 14-0, but remain in last place in the NL Central, 16½ games out of first.
Cervelli shared on social media a love letter with the city – whose fans he called “my YINZ” – that fell in love with his passion for the game as part of a playoff team in 2015.
A letter to the city of Pittsburgh (my YINZ)… The city that captivated my heart.
When I think about you and try to express how I feel about you, I can't help but describe you as my home, my love, and my family. I… https://t.co/5VPGrRZgkf
— Francisco Cervelli(@fran_cervelli) August 23, 2019
Atlanta welcomed Cervelli with open arms.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 24, 2019
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 25, 2019
And here’s the craziest part of Cervelli’s debut: He didn’t have his own gear. Cervelli borrowed catching gear, a glove and cleats from his new Braves teammates.
"I don't have anything. They helped me out and I helped them."
— Francisco Cervelli didn't have any of his gear. He tells @KelsWingert it didn't stop him from a three-hit, three-RBI night with two doubles in @Braves' win over Mets.#Braves | #ChopOn pic.twitter.com/TsczCDNdo8
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) August 25, 2019
Now, the Braves have to hope Cervelli can stay healthy.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .