MLB Baseball

Cervelli granted release by Pirates, aims to join contender

(AP Photo/Gary Landers)

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Pirates are parting ways with veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli, who's worked his way back from another concussion and is hoping to catch on with a contender.

The Pirates announced Thursday they had requested unconditional release waivers on the 33-year-old Cervelli. He's played 34 games this season, hitting .193 with one home run and five RBIs.

Cervelli has suffered several concussions in his career, and hasn't played in the majors since his most recent one on May 25.

Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington says the club wants give Cervelli - who recently completed a rehabilitation assignment - an opportunity to sign with another team rather than sit the bench.

The last-place Pirates have split the catching duties between Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings. Cervelli is in the final season of a three-year, $31 million contract.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said there was a plan in place to have Cervelli return this season.

"We started talking about different opportunities," Hurdle said. "We were always open-minded walking into it, if something better could come along. A quicker opportunity to return and play, as well as a more opportune experience to get involved with, potentially, a playoff team."

All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez, a teammate of Cervelli's since 2016, was taken aback by the news.

"I think I still can't believe it," Vazquez said. "I was just thinking about the kind of guy he is, the kind of guy he was when he was here. I think it's going to be tough for everyone."

"I think he knew everything about me, the pitches that I wanted to throw on any count. It's just crazy. It's not going to be easy to find another guy that's willing to be on the same page as you," he said.

Cervelli was traded from the New York Yankees to Pittsburgh after the 2014 season. He hit .295 in 130 games in 2015 for a team that won 98 games and reached the National League playoffs for the third straight year.

Outfielders Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco and left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano are the only players remaining from that 2015 team.

"This is where (Cervelli) got his real opportunity to play and was actually able to showcase the talent, and the leadership on the field, to a greater degree than he ever did before," Hurdle said. "I think our fan base was also attracted to him as well, just the energy. ... He played with emotion. He played with fire, and continued to carry that through up until his last game here."

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said the move was made to accommodate Cervelli.

"As Francisco has worked through his rehabilitation, we have had multiple conversations with him and his agent regarding his projected playing time for the remainder of this season with the Pirates," Huntington said in a statement. "Out of respect and appreciation for Francisco, we have chosen to honor his request to be released in order for him to pursue an opportunity that potentially gives him a chance at more playing time, as well as an opportunity this season to compete in the postseason."

"We appreciate who Francisco is and all he has done for the Pirates and the city of Pittsburgh. We believe this was the right move for the right reasons and wish Francisco well," he said.

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Updated August 22, 2019

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Teams Score Time
Interleague
Boston 6 F
Philadelphia 3
American League
New York 4 F
Toronto 6
Baltimore 8 F
Detroit 2
Minnesota 5 F
Cleveland 7
Houston 12 F
Kansas City 3
Oakland 6 F
Texas 1
Tampa Bay 4 F
Los Angeles 6
Chicago 10 F
Seattle 11
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Chicago   7:40pm
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Kansas City   10:07pm
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National League
Atlanta 0 F
Washington 7
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Pittsburgh 6 F
Chicago 16
San Diego 5 F
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Miami 1 F
San Francisco 2
Cincinnati 3 F
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 3 F
New York 2
San Diego   7:40pm
Milwaukee  
Washington   7:45pm
St. Louis  
Cincinnati   8:05pm
Chicago  
New York   8:40pm
Colorado  
Miami   9:40pm
Arizona  
Teams Score Time
Arizona 17 F
Baltimore 23
Buffalo 28 F
New York 14
Dallas 31 F
Washington 21
Indianapolis 19 F
Tennessee 17
Jacksonville 12 F
Houston 13
Los Angeles 10 F
Detroit 13
Minnesota 16 F
Green Bay 21
New England 43 F
Miami 0
San Francisco 41 F
Cincinnati 17
Seattle 28 F
Pittsburgh 26
Kansas City 28 F
Oakland 10
Chicago 16 F
Denver 14
New Orleans 9 F
Los Angeles 27
Philadelphia 20 F
Atlanta 24
Cleveland   8:15pm
New York  
Teams Score Time
Arizona 2 F
Vegas 6
Florida   4:30pm
Nashville  
Boston   7:00pm
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Chicago   7:00pm
Washington  
New Jersey   7:00pm
Montreal  
New York   7:00pm
Philadelphia  
Pittsburgh   7:00pm
Buffalo  
Florida   8:00pm
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2 4 Kevin Harvick 3
3 2 Brad Keselowski 18
4 9 Chase Elliott 8
5 12 Ryan Blaney 23
6 88 Alex Bowman 19
7 24 William Byron 14
8 42 Kyle Larson 15
9 22 Joey Logano 22
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1 2 Tyler Reddick 4
2 20 Christopher Bell 2
3 19 Brandon Jones 6
4 00 Cole Custer 1
5 7 Justin Allgaier 3
6 9 Noah Gragson 36
7 08 Gray Gaulding 16
8 23 John Hunter Nemechek 13
9 18 Riley Herbst 15
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Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 7
2 45 Ross Chastain 2
3 51 Christian Eckes 1
4 2 Sheldon Creed 6
5 4 Todd Gilliland 3
6 30 Brennan Poole 18
7 24 Brett Moffitt 4
8 99 Ben Rhodes 13
9 18 Harrison Burton 9