Francisco Cervelli remains out of action, as he has been since May 26 because of a concussion. And with the catcher continuing to take infield and outfield reps during batting practice while awaiting clearance, what is his positional future with the Pittsburgh Pirates?
“As we go through with Cervy, we need to be cognizant that there may be a position change at hand,” general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday. “We’re continuing to work through the assessment and evaluation process. Obviously, you’ve seen him take a ton of work at third and around the infield. We have to be open to the fact that maybe third base or first base or right field or a bat off the bench, or maybe he becomes a regular at somewhere at each of those.”
Cervelli has had at least six diagnosed and documented concussions in the majors, and perhaps more that weren’t diagnosed. He has been cleared for baseball activities but not for games.
.@KGorman_Trib: Early indications are that placing Cervelli on the seven-day concussion injured list was out of precaution, but his next concussion behind the plate for the Pirates should be his last.https://t.co/w70t1tH9Au
— Tribune-ReviewSports (@TribSports) May 28, 2019
The competitive Cervelli has in recent weeks softened his long-held stance that “I’m a catcher. That’s what I do.”
Cervelli is the Pirates’ highest-paid player at $11.5 million this season, but he is in the final year of his contract and likely isn’t in the team’s longterm plans.
The Pirates also have had one of MLB’s best offenses over the past two months. Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings have formed a more-than-adequate catching duo in Cervelli’s place.
Huntington said it will be Cervelli’s call whether he catches again.
“Whenever there’s a medical issue, it’s always the player’s decision,” Huntington said. “Our job is to provide them with the best possible information, the best possible recommendations that we possibly can, and we’ll continue to do that in this situation and in all situations.
“Our discussions with Cervy to date have been about playing other positions. We need to honor and respect that. And he’s worked so hard to become major-league ready in a very short period of time at those positions.”