For the eighth time in nine MLB seasons, Francisco Cervelli missed significant action after breaking his hamate bone in June. Never known for power, the catcher hit just one home run (on Sept. 22) in 393 plate appearances. Cervelli's slash line of .264/.377/.322 varied little before or after surgery. While he offers little in the way of power -- his seven homers in 2015 represent a career high -- he does hold a .280 career batting average. The backstop, who's consistently been ranked among the top pitch-framers in baseball, signed a contract extension in the summer worth $31 million for three years. He'll see as much time as his fragile body allows as one of Pittsburgh's highest paid players.
Cervelli went 0-for-4 Monday and is batting .182 in his last 47 plate appearances. He made two errors Monday and was hit on the left wrist by the follow-through of Addison Russell's bat, though he stayed in the game. Cervelli is making hard contact at a career-high rate (42 percent) but his .208 BABIP is near a career low. The team removed him early from Saturday's game without explanation, so it might be wise to keep close tabs on the catcher's status.
Cervelli is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Yankees. After catching the first two games of the series, Cervelli will head to the bench Sunday in favor of backup Chris Stewart. Expect Cervelli to be back in action Monday against the Cubs.
Cervelli is not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's matinee against the Cardinals, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Chris Stewart takes over the backstop, giving Cervelli his first day off in nearly a week. The 31-year-old is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak, raising his average to .234 in his 10th major league season.
Cervelli went 1-for-4 with a solo homer Saturday against the Cubs. Cervelli's second bomb of 2017 put the Pirates on the board in the second inning of a game they'd go on to win. Although he's hitting just .229, he's now collected hits in three of his last four games, and he'll continue to be a useful fantasy option with the regular time he sees behind the dish.
Cervelli, who is battling an illness, went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI against the Cubs on Friday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. He continues to show better power in 2017, as evidenced by his gap-shot double. It's possible the Pirates start backup Chris Stewart on Saturday or Sunday with Cervelli nursing a cold. Cervelli is batting .190 and .200, respectively, against weekend starting pitchers Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester.