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Pirates notebook: Catcher Francisco Cervelli shut down for rest of season

Chris Adamski
| Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, 8:36 p.m.
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli

Francisco Cervelli was summoned to the manager's office at mid-afternoon Monday for a meeting with not only Clint Hurdle, but also the general manager and the head athletic trainer.

For a guy who played in one game over the past five-plus weeks, that probably meant bad news.

It was. Cervelli was shut down for the rest of season.

“We mapped out a calendar,” Hurdle said, “and concluded that we have run out of days for us to feasibly, realistically push to continue to play.

“He hasn't blocked balls. He hasn't run bases. He's worked as hard as he can. He's poured everything he can to get to the point he's at today. But a week from today, we are talking about two days against the Orioles, an off day and then three games in a weekend series. The reality of it is we have run out of time.”

Cervelli, 31, completes the season — the first of a three-year, $31 million contract with the Pirates — having appeared in half of the 162 games, the fewest in any of his three seasons with the team.

Cervelli, who made 75 starts at catcher, had four stints on the disabled list this season: two for a concussion and one each for wrist inflammation and quadriceps irritation. The latter has kept him on the disabled list since Aug. 26.

Intensely competitive and eager to shed an “injury-prone” label that has dogged him throughout his major league career, Cervelli has been limited to 182 games the past two seasons. Still, Hurdle described him as being “in a good place.”

“He's watching the young pitchers work. He's spending time with (backup Elias Diaz), working with and talking with some of the young pitchers that are in the bullpen” Hurdle said. “So there are some things being done that are going to help that he is helping with over the winter and into next season, to the best of his ability.”

Winter ball for Diaz, Osuna

Hurdle said Diaz and rookie first baseman/outfielder Jose Osuna will play winter ball at an undetermined location.

“We are gonna try to set up about a six-week period of winter ball play to get them active,” Hurdle said.

Osuna, a 24-year-old rookie, has a .721 OPS and seven homers over 208 at-bats. Diaz, 26, showed promise with his defense and had a .770 OPS in June when he first got regular major league duty, though he has cooled considerably.

“The aptitude has been really good. The coach-ability has been really good,” Hurdle said of Diaz. “The game was moving much quicker for him two weeks ago than it is now. He's been able to slow the game down. Taking a couple breaths, conversations with pitchers during games, making mound visits on his own. We like what we have seen.”

Said Diaz, through a translator: “I'm definitely thinking about taking the opportunity of winter ball and using that opportunity to just put into practice a lot of the little things that I have been learning lately and making sure that I am sharpening them, mastering them and bettering them so that when I come back spring training I can be more effective for my team.”

Glasnow to pitch Wednesday

The Pirates are searching for another chance to get Tyler Glasnow one last start — no easy proposition with 11 games remaining over a 13-day span and seven starting pitchers. But Hurdle knows when Glasnow's next outing will be.

The young right-hander will pitch after Steven Brault leaves Wednesday's game against the Brewers.

“It could be like a ‘piggyback' game,” Hurdle said.

Glasnow was rocked for five runs on four hits and yielded six walks in 2 23 innings in his only start for the Pirates since the Triple-A season ended earlier this month.

Glasnow has a 7.89 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in the majors this season. He had a 1.93 ERA and 0.95 WHIP for Triple-A Indianapolis.

“We'd like to hand it to him one more time and see what he can do with it with a clean start,” Hurdle said.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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