Francisco Cervelli vows to enjoy his ‘last two months’ with Pirates
Francisco Cervelli was in a good mood Sunday morning, which is his normal demeanor no matter the situation.
But the Pittsburgh Pirates’ oldest and most experienced catcher has missed 61 games since May 26 while recovering from another concussion — at least the sixth of his career — and he’s eager to resume kneeling behind home plate again.
He has been eligible to come off the injured list since July 25, but doctors are sticking to a conservative approach to his recovery, and he hasn’t received medical clearance to play.
“This is the circus,” he said. “I’m the clown in the circus. I don’t run the circus.”
Cervelli was joking and not making a commentary on the team’s current circumstance, but he’s eager to begin a minor league rehab assignment.
“I gotta go downstairs first,” he said. “I don’t know (when) but very soon.”
General manager Neal Huntington said Cervelli “continues to do amazing work off the field to stay in great shape, to put himself in good position to be ready if and when we get the (medical) authorization. The next step is still a big one for us to cross.”
Cervelli, who will turn 34 during the winter, said he has been free of concussion symptoms for more than two months and has increased his pregame catching activities. He was wearing catcher’s gear Sunday during part of his workout, 90 minutes before the Pirates’ game with the New York Mets, which ended in a 13-2 loss.
Asked if he could catch immediately if the need arose, he said, “probably,” but with an important disclaimer.
“I’m not going to do it the way you want me to do it, but I’m going to try,” he said. “Big league level is another thing. It’s just timing, that’s it. That’s all I need. Physically, I’ve been working so hard that I don’t need that much.”
He said his training regimen has left him feeling “good, normal.” He described it as “work, work, work and work,” and it even included doing somersaults on the grass at PNC Park.
“Every day something different. We did it for two weeks. It was challenging but fun. I really like it because I got well in a different way. My eyes are good. It’s great.”
So, where does that take him as he approaches the final two months of his ninth season and the end of his five-year stay in Pittsburgh? He does not have a contract for 2020.
“I think I’m a winner now because I feel normal,” he said. “The other stuff that’s coming (free agency), I don’t worry about it. I’m going to do my part.
“Like I say, I only work in the circus as a clown. If they tell me to jump, I jump.”
Then, he said in all seriousness, “I’ll play this season, very soon, and next year, I’m going to play. This is my last two months here, and I’m planning to enjoy it as much as I can.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .