Cervelli begins rehab work from broken hand

June 17th, 2016

CHICAGO -- Francisco Cervelli's left hand hadn't been bothering him. No soreness, no sign of injury. Then came one swing, a pop and an immediate feeling that something was wrong.

Cervelli injured his hand during a swing and left the Pirates' 9-3 loss to the Cardinals on June 10. He underwent surgery the next day to remove a fractured hook of the hamate bone in his left hand, and he'll remain on the disabled list for at least another month.

Cervelli joined the team at Wrigley Field on Friday, his hand still in a soft cast, for the first time since that swing upended his season.

"It's frustrating. It's like a little nightmare," Cervelli said. "It feels a little embarrassing. I just want to stay [out] there, especially for the confidence they've given me and the contract and everything."

Plagued by injuries before he joined the Pirates, Cervelli stayed on the field last season. He played a career-high 130 games and performed at a high level, batting .295/.370/.401 while being regarded as one of the league's best defensive catchers. The Pirates signed Cervelli to a three-year, $31 million contract extension last month.

"It's something that I learned to live with. Of course, I want to stay in the game -- like last year, the whole season," Cervelli said. "Now, I've got to be focusing on coming back healthy and helping my team."

Cervelli worked out Friday for the first time since the operation. Another three to five weeks stand between him and a full return to full baseball activities, based on the Pirates' initial estimate.

"We've got the best trainers, man," he said, smiling. "They're going to get me back really quick."

Around the horn

• Left fielder Starling Marte, who took a one-hopper off his face on Wednesday, was out of the starting lineup Friday for the second straight day. Matt Joyce got the start in left field, batting fifth.

Marte's vision is unaffected by the glancing blow he took off the left side of his face, an encouraging sign that he won't be sidelined much longer.

• Catcher Chris Stewart, dealing with a number of dings and dents, returned to the lineup after two games off.

"We packed enough straw back in Stew to get him back out there today," manager Clint Hurdle joked.

• Shortstop Kevin Newman, the Pirates' first-round Draft pick a year ago, was promoted to Double-A Altoona on Friday. The Bucs' No. 11 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, Newman hit .366/.428/.494 with three homers and more walks (17) than strikeouts (12) in 41 games for Class A Advanced Bradenton.

• Outfielder Austin Meadows, the Pirates' second-ranked prospect, homered in his first at-bat Thursday night to extend his Altoona-record hitting streak to 24 games. It is the second-longest hitting streak by a Pirates Minor Leaguer since 2005.

Meadows, Pittsburgh's top pick in the 2013 Draft, entered play Friday batting .311/.365/.611 with six homers, 23 RBIs and nine steals in 45 games.

• The Pirates and Reds will make up their May 10 rainout at Great American Ball Park as part of a day-night doubleheader in Cincinnati on Sept. 17. The first game will begin at 12:10 p.m. ET, and the nightcap will start at 6:10.