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Francisco Cervelli gets day off after another shot to head

August 23, 2018

The Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli talks with home plate umpire Will Little after being called out on strikes to end the eighth inning against the Cardinals Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, at PNC Park.

The Pirates had three catchers on their roster Sunday when they met the San Francisco Giants after Francisco Cervelli, who has been placed on the concussion disabled list four times in the past two seasons, was hit in the mask with a foul tip Saturday night.

Cervelli was not placed on the disabled list Sunday, but Jacob Stallings was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis for the third time this season. Elias Diaz was the starting catcher.

“We’re going to take as many precautionary measures as we can when he does take the field behind the plate and continue to be cautious as he takes foul balls off the mask,” Pirates assistant general manager Kevan Graves said on KDKA-FM before the game.

“We are comfortable he is in a good place with respect to his long-term health.”

Nonetheless, Stallings’ presence indicated the Pirates wanted to keep Cervelli off the field Sunday. The Pirates are off Monday, so he will get at least two days to recover from Saturday’s incident.

Cervelli has been one of the Pirates’ most productive run producers this season, with 11 home runs (tied for third on the team) and 47 RBIs (fourth) while hitting .257. He has started three games at first base recently to keep his bat in the lineup and protect him from hits to the head at catcher.

“We do believe Francisco Cervelli will take the field consistently, but we also want to be cautious, we want to be thorough to be sure (manager Clint Hurdle) and the staff are as protected as possible.”

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