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Bucs activate Cervelli from disabled list

Kuhl waiting for 2nd opinion on right forearm strain
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- After taking batting practice on Saturday afternoon, Francisco Cervelli turned the tables on the small crowd of media waiting for him. Cervelli grabbed a voice recorder, asked reporters if they ever get tired of asking about his health and then, after deeming those answers satisfactory, looked into one camera and said, with a smile, "I'm back, ladies!"

Sidelined by a concussion for more than two weeks, Cervelli is back to being himself. On Sunday, he got back behind the plate, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk during Pittsburgh's 4-1 win over the Phillies. The Pirates reinstated Cervelli from the disabled list prior to the series finale, put him in the starting lineup and optioned catcher Jacob Stallings to Triple-A Indianapolis.

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PITTSBURGH -- After taking batting practice on Saturday afternoon, Francisco Cervelli turned the tables on the small crowd of media waiting for him. Cervelli grabbed a voice recorder, asked reporters if they ever get tired of asking about his health and then, after deeming those answers satisfactory, looked into one camera and said, with a smile, "I'm back, ladies!"

Sidelined by a concussion for more than two weeks, Cervelli is back to being himself. On Sunday, he got back behind the plate, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk during Pittsburgh's 4-1 win over the Phillies. The Pirates reinstated Cervelli from the disabled list prior to the series finale, put him in the starting lineup and optioned catcher Jacob Stallings to Triple-A Indianapolis.

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"I'm good now," Cervelli said on Saturday. "It's better. Ready to play some baseball and play hard and keep doing what I was doing."

Cervelli hadn't played for the Pirates since June 21 due to a concussion caused by what he called "accumulating" blows to the head. There was a foul ball in St. Louis, another one in the following series against the Dodgers and the one he took off his jaw at Wrigley Field. Cervelli was cleared to play after that but didn't feel right in his final six games before the trip to the disabled list.

"I had that feeling, and I couldn't perform the way I was supposed to do. It was not me. I was not myself," Cervelli said. "It was dangerous. Probably for the first time, I said, 'I can't do it, and I need some time.'"

It was not an easy decision for Cervelli, who says he feels "embarrassed" every time he goes on the disabled list. He was the Pirates' best hitter when healthy, entering Sunday with a .257/.390/.486 slash line and a career-high nine home runs in 55 games. But he finally admitted it was time to go on the seven-day concussion DL.

Cervelli stayed at home with his mother, Damelis, and rested. He went through the necessary tests and eye exercises then played two games as the designated hitter for Double-A Altoona before rejoining the Pirates on Saturday.

"The good thing is you always have an opportunity to come back. That's why I feel lucky," Cervelli said. "I always have the chance to stand up and keep playing."

Taillon talks it out
Starter Jameson Taillon met on Sunday morning with manager Clint Hurdle to discuss Taillon's exit -- after only 6 2/3 innings and 77 pitches -- from Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Phillies. Taillon admitted it was "tough" to see reliever Edgar Santana warming up in the seventh before he had allowed a runner to reach second base. Hurdle didn't provide details of the talk, but said it went well.

"We've already shared our thoughts together," Hurdle said. "I think we had one of our best conversations ever in here this morning."

Musgrove on track
Right-hander Joe Musgrove (right index finger infection) played catch on Friday and Saturday, then threw a bullpen session on Sunday. He declared himself "good to go," after missing his last start. That should put Musgrove in line to start on Tuesday against the Nationals, the first day he's eligible to come off the 10-day DL.

Ivan Nova will start Monday's series opener, and Trevor Williams will pitch in the series finale on Wednesday.

Kuhl update
Right-hander Chad Kuhl (right forearm strain) met with reporters on Saturday for the first time since leaving his June 26 start and going on the disabled list. Kuhl expects to miss at least a few weeks. But, for now, he is waiting for a second opinion and for his MRI results to be read.

Kuhl "felt like I had a muscle grab" while pitching at Citi Field, he said. He threw a warmup pitch then looked back to see his next fastball registered 96 mph, so he figured he was healthy enough to finish the fourth inning. Kuhl said his arm "got more inflamed and felt tighter as the night went on."

"You put in all the work in the offseason and throughout the season to prepare and to put yourself in the best possible situation to go start to finish -- and being able to do that last year then have this flare up this year, it's kind of upsetting," Kuhl said.

Kuhl's injury is preventing him from doing any exercises that involve gripping with his right hand, but he is receiving treatment to keep the rest of his body prepared to pitch.

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, Chad Kuhl, Jameson Taillon