CINCINNATI -- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli's left hand and wrist may not be 100 percent, but he was ready to come back Friday. Pittsburgh reinstated Cervelli from the 10-day disabled list and slotted him into the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Reds.Two and a half innings later, he
CINCINNATI -- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli's left hand and wrist may not be 100 percent, but he was ready to come back Friday. Pittsburgh reinstated Cervelli from the 10-day disabled list and slotted him into the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Reds.
Two and a half innings later, he was out of the game.
Cervelli exited Friday's game after scoring a run in the top of the third due to left quad discomfort. Chris Stewart replaced Cervelli behind the plate, batting seventh.
Cervelli walked to lead off the third, moved to second on Starling Marte's single and scored on Adam Frazier's single to center field. Cervelli appeared to pull up before crossing the plate and did not return. After the PIrates' 9-5 loss, Cervelli left the clubhouse and deferred further comment until Saturday.
Left wrist inflammation had sidelined Cervelli since Aug. 14, the day after he asked out of a game in Toronto because the pain became too much to play through. He was eligible to return Thursday but went through one final workout instead. On Friday, the Pirates decided he was good to go, activated him and optioned catcher Elias Diaz to Triple-A Indianapolis.
"I don't want to think about pain. I did it for like two weeks, and one day, I couldn't do it anymore," Cervelli said Friday afternoon. "With the treatment and everything, it feels 80-90 percent. I just want to be there and help as much as I can. … It's almost normal, so let's do it."
It's unclear what exactly caused the injury, but Cervelli believes it is related to the surgery he underwent last June to remove a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. He felt the pain every time he gripped a bat or received low pitches behind the plate. He didn't require an injection, he said, and doesn't expect he'll need surgery to address the issue.
Cervelli said he will put together an offseason plan with the training staff to better rest, treat and prepare his left hand/wrist for next season.
"I had scar tissue there. It's the same hand, but I don't have the bone anymore," he said. "It's got to be over-usage. I don't know. They're going to figure it out in the offseason."
The 31-year-old catcher hopes to avoid further time down after being afflicted by injuries during each of the past two years. Cervelli played 130 games for the Pirates in 2015, the most productive season of his career.
"I'm going to do my normal thing. I don't want to think about it. I just want to play baseball," he said. "Next year, it cannot happen again, you know? I need to do the right thing."
The Pirates will continue to monitor Cervelli's playing time, pushing him aggressively but not recklessly.
"We like having Cervelli back," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He spent some down time here. He feels he's in a competitive place to get back out there, pour into the pitchers, take his spot in the lineup and help us on the offensive side as well. The timing's good."
Diaz, 26, hit .250/.283/.350 in 106 plate appearances for the Pirates. Although Major League rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on Sept. 1, Diaz cannot be recalled until Sept. 5 (10 days after he reports to Indianapolis) unless he is replacing a player placed on the DL.
If Cervelli will miss more than a couple days, Diaz may find himself back in Cincinnati on Saturday. If Cervelli is healthy enough to avoid another DL stint, Diaz should return in early September or after Indianapolis' season ends, giving Pittsburgh three catchers for the final month.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.