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Cervelli returns to lineup; Marte, Dickerson sit

MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- Injured outfielders Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson didn't return to the Pirates lineup on Thursday night, but Pittsburgh did get one core player back on the field.

The Pirates activated catcher Francisco Cervelli from the disabled list, where he had been since July 14 due to post-concussive symptoms. To make room for Cervelli, the Bucs optioned catcher Jacob Stallings to Triple-A Indianapolis.

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PITTSBURGH -- Injured outfielders Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson didn't return to the Pirates lineup on Thursday night, but Pittsburgh did get one core player back on the field.

The Pirates activated catcher Francisco Cervelli from the disabled list, where he had been since July 14 due to post-concussive symptoms. To make room for Cervelli, the Bucs optioned catcher Jacob Stallings to Triple-A Indianapolis.

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Cervelli has been in and out of the lineup, and on and off the disabled list, since mid-June due to concussions and post-concussion symptoms. He last played on July 13, but he's been in only 11 games since June 9 after playing in 49 of Pittsburgh's first 64 games.

The Pirates placed Cervelli on the disabled list on June 22, again on July 1 and once more just before the All-Star break. He entered Thursday's series opener batting .243/.379/.460 with a career-high nine home runs in 60 games.

"I feel good. I'm back again," said Cervelli, who was behind the plate and batting sixth on Thursday night at PNC Park. "Round three. … This time's going to be different, so we're good."

Cervelli can't actually guarantee that he'll elude the disabled list the rest of the season. He felt good the last time he came off the DL, but he took at least one foul tip off the helmet in each of the four games he started. What could he have done to avoid those blows?

"Watch the game from the stands. Or in the suite. Or stay in here and watch on TV. That's the only way," Cervelli said. "What happened the last time is bad luck. Let's do it again."

Cervelli figured the Pirates would ease him back into action, and manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates will monitor his status daily. Cervelli said he never experienced headaches or nausea after his last concussion, but he felt dizzy and off-balance, comparing his symptoms to a hangover.

Video: PIT@CHC: Trainers check Cervelli after foul off mask

"Not scared. It's weird. You don't feel right," Cervelli said. "It's not funny when you wake up and you're like that for days, you know?"

Cervelli said he will look into therapy and other forms of treatment in the offseason with an eye on his long-term health. The 32-year-old has practiced fielding ground balls at first base, but a full-time position change isn't in the cards with Josh Bell holding down first. Besides, Cervelli isn't all that interested in moving out from behind the plate.

"It'd be like telling a matador not to fight bulls," Hurdle quipped.

Outfield injuries
Both Marte (left hand contusion) and Dickerson (left hamstring discomfort) were listed as reserves on the Pirates' lineup card, though it was unclear as of Thursday afternoon if either outfielder was available off the bench.

Dickerson exited Tuesday's game after tweaking his hamstring running to first base and did not play on Wednesday. Marte was knocked out on Wednesday after his left hand was struck by a Trevor Bauer fastball.

Jordan Luplow made his second straight start in left field, batting leadoff against Mets left-hander Steven Matz. Sean Rodriguez got the start in center field.

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, Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte