Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Stellar Cervelli at peace with missing ASG

Bucs catcher has worthy numbers, but lost time to the DL
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- Before manager Clint Hurdle announced after Sunday's game that Felipe Vazquez was going to the All-Star Game, Vazquez wasn't thinking about his chances. He was thinking about Francisco Cervelli and Corey Dickerson representing the Pirates at Nationals Park.

Cervelli entered Monday trailing only the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto and the Cubs' Willson Contreras in Wins Above Replacement among National League catchers with at least 200 plate appearances, according to Fangraphs. He also had the second-highest weighted on-base average and weighted runs created plus total, behind only Realmuto.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- Before manager Clint Hurdle announced after Sunday's game that Felipe Vazquez was going to the All-Star Game, Vazquez wasn't thinking about his chances. He was thinking about Francisco Cervelli and Corey Dickerson representing the Pirates at Nationals Park.

Cervelli entered Monday trailing only the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto and the Cubs' Willson Contreras in Wins Above Replacement among National League catchers with at least 200 plate appearances, according to Fangraphs. He also had the second-highest weighted on-base average and weighted runs created plus total, behind only Realmuto.

View Full Game Coverage

The one area in which Cervelli trails his All-Star counterparts? Games played. He returned Sunday afternoon after missing more than two weeks due to a concussion. So when his name was not called when the rosters were unveiled on Sunday night, Cervelli began to move forward.

"Probably the other guys deserve it more," Cervelli said. "Maybe one day before I retire, I'll go at least one time in my career. But it's not happening now, so I'm going to keep playing hard. The most important thing is my team."

This was Cervelli's best chance to make his first All-Star team since 2015, his first year with the Pirates. General manager Neal Huntington campaigned for Cervelli during his weekly radio show on Sunday, and manager Clint Hurdle also lauded Cervelli's performance.

"The numbers speak for themselves. The numbers are real," Hurdle said. "Sometimes absence from the lineup, time away on the DL -- I don't know how that plays out. You've got three different bodies picking the teams. There's that to take in. You wish for guys that have that kind of first half would make it. He didn't as of yet. Who knows what could happen."

Hurdle also spoke highly of Dickerson, who finished 15th among NL outfielders in the fan voting, and Vazquez, their lone All-Star. Despite his early struggles, the Pirates are sending their closer to the Midsummer Classic for the sixth time in the last eight seasons.

"He was able to put a foot down and get his game back in play and get his pitches back in play and get his whole mojo on the mound back in play," Hurdle said of Vazquez. "It's been really, really good and professional for a string of outings now."

Around the horn
• Hurdle slotted Dickerson into the leadoff spot on Monday for the first time all season. First baseman Josh Bell, who's hit leadoff recently, had the day off and the Pirates want Josh Harrison to hit lower in the order for now. So Hurdle turned to Dickerson, who led off 87 times in his career before Monday night.

• With Triple-A Indianapolis beginning its All-Star break, veteran super-utility man Sean Rodriguez (right quad strain) had his rehab assignment transferred to Class A Advanced Bradenton. Rodriguez went 6-for-23 with a home run and a double in six games with Indianapolis.

• Right-hander Clay Holmes started for Bradenton on Monday to keep him in line to start for the Pirates during their Saturday doubleheader against the Brewers at PNC Park. Holmes made his first Major League start on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, where he allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out two over 2 1/3 innings.

• Shortstop Oneil Cruz, the Pirates' No. 12 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was named the South Atlantic League's Player of the Month for June. Cruz, 19, hit .375/.420/.606 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 25 games for Class A West Virginia last month, becoming the first West Virginia player to receive the honor since top prospect Mitch Keller in April 2016. The Pirates acquired Cruz from the Dodgers last summer in exchange for reliever Tony Watson.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Francisco Cervelli