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Cervelli returns to lineup after concussion

Pirates' catcher involved in heated discussion vs. Rockies that led to benches clearing
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli went 1-for-3 with a hit by pitch on Wednesday night in a 5-1 loss to the Rockies in his first game back from the seven-day concussion disabled list. Cervelli was reinstated earlier in the day after he was cleared by the Commissioner's office and the Players Association.

"It feels good to be up there," Cervelli said. "It would have felt better to have won the game."

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PITTSBURGH -- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli went 1-for-3 with a hit by pitch on Wednesday night in a 5-1 loss to the Rockies in his first game back from the seven-day concussion disabled list. Cervelli was reinstated earlier in the day after he was cleared by the Commissioner's office and the Players Association.

"It feels good to be up there," Cervelli said. "It would have felt better to have won the game."

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Cervelli was hit by a pitch in the fifth, which led to a confrontation between him and Rockies catcher Tony Wolters that caused the benches to clear. Cervelli said he didn't like what Wolters said to him but declined to disclose details of the encounter.

"That's between me and him," Cervelli said.

Pittsburgh optioned A.J. Schugel to Triple-A Indianapolis in a corresponding move to make room on the active roster for Cervelli.

"He has responded to those benchmarks that we monitor head injuries with," Pirates head trainer Todd Tomczyk said of Cervelli. "He has responded to the relative rest. We have tested him, and he has been cleared by the Commissioner's office and the Players Association."

The Bucs placed Cervelli on the DL on June 7 and called up catcher Jacob Stallings from Indianapolis to replace him. As of Wednesday, Stallings and Elias Diaz remain on the active 25-man roster, meaning Pittsburgh is carrying three backstops.

Diaz played well in Cervelli's absence, slashing .400/.455/.600 in the last 10 games. Cervelli had been hitting .252/.343/.394 in 47 games before he was placed on the DL. Cervelli's return will challenge the Pirates to find ways for Diaz to stay involved with the offense.

"We will see how it plays out," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Diaz has done a really good job."

Injury updates

• Tomczyk said injured catcher Chris Stewart (left hamstring strain) is now running curves and could possibly start running bases in the near future.

• Right-hander Josh Lindblom (left side discomfort) and left-hander Antonio Bastardo (left quad strain) are continuing their rehab assignments in Indianapolis, Tomczyk said. He said both relievers are progressing nicely.

• Tomczyk said shortstop Barrett Barnes, the Pirates' No. 25 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, has suffered a hamstring strain and will be out for four to six weeks. Shortstop Cole Tucker, the Bucs' No. 5 prospect, fractured his right thumb. Tomczyk didn't provide a timetable for his return. Right-hander Mitch Keller (back tightness), the Pirates' No. 2 prospect, threw a solid bullpen session in Florida, according to Tomczyk.

Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Francisco Cervelli