Bucs place Cervelli on 7-day concussion DL

June 22nd, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates catcher has been shut down after being placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list before Friday's game against the D-backs at PNC Park.

Cervelli reported symptoms to the club's medical staff after Thursday night's 9-3 loss, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said on Saturday. Cervelli had not reported any symptoms since returning to the field on June 13, Tomczyk said, noting that doctors described Cervelli's latest concussion as a "cumulative effect."

Cervelli was examined by an independent neurologist, who recommended at least seven days' rest. The Pirates medical staff will continue to monitor Cervelli, who will also see the independent neurologist for further follow-up exams.

Cervelli took a foul tip off the left side of his facemask on June 9 at Wrigley Field, exited the game early and did not return to the field until June 13. During that time, Cervelli went through extensive testing -- under protocol mandated by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association -- to ensure he was healthy enough to play. Cervelli played in six full games after returning from his initial injury, which was officially described as a bruised jaw.

This is Cervelli's fourth concussive event since 2011, Tomczyk said. He was placed on the seven-day DL twice last June. He also missed time in September 2011 due to a concussion.

"I think what's most important here is the cognition of Francisco to recognize these new symptoms, for him not to play through these new symptoms, to make us aware of them, the doctors aware of them, to ensure his short and long-term health," Tomczyk said.

Aside from rookie outfielder , Cervelli has been the Pirates' most productive hitter this season. The 32-year-old is hitting .257/.390/.486 with a career-high nine home runs in 55 games.

, who started Friday, will take over as the starting catcher while Cervelli is out. Diaz is also enjoying a strong offensive campaign, slashing .286/.336/.469 with five homers in his first 37 games. The Pirates are confident that Diaz can handle everyday duties in Cervelli's absence.

"Just because of the repetition and experience. He's gone through it before, having to be a No. 2, now be a No. 1 for however long, to be the guy," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're prepared for our future through our past, if we've paid attention. He's paid attention."

When the Pirates put Cervelli on the disabled list, they called up catcher from Triple-A Indianapolis to back up Diaz.

Stallings joined the Pirates on Friday and made the last out of their 2-1 loss to the D-backs as a pinch-hitter in the 13th inning.

This is Stallings' second stint with the Pirates this season, but he did not appear in a game during his first call-up from June 10 through Monday. Highly regarded for his defense behind the plate, Stallings has hit .289 with a .731 OPS in 42 Triple-A games this season.

"Jacob's worked very hard on an offensive approach, a two-strike approach," Hurdle said. "To his credit, he believed there was a better hitter in himself than maybe some other people did. He's worked very hard at becoming a better hitter."