Braves sign veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli, who was recently released by Pirates

Veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has not played in a big-league game since late May after sustaining a concussion and was released earlier this week by the Pittsburgh Pirates, has signed a big-league deal with the Atlanta Braves. Cervelli will be activated for the Braves ahead of their Saturday night game vs. the New York Mets, the team announced:

The Braves were an obvious landing spot for Cervelli given they had placed Brian McCann on the injured list earlier in the week.

Cervelli, 33, was in the midst of a disappointing season before hitting the shelf. In 34 games, he'd hit .193/.279/.248 with more strikeouts (31) than hits (21). To Cervelli's credit, he has been a reliable on-base machine in the past, and has posted at least a 90 OPS+ in each of his last four full seasons. 

It should be noted that Cervelli is being presented as a catcher. Remember, earlier this summer there was controversy over whether or not he would return to the squat given his history with concussions. (You can read more about catchers and concussions by checking out our 2017 piece on the topic.) Nonetheless, it does appear Cervelli will remain behind the dish.

The Pirates released Cervelli in part because of a disagreement in how much playing time he should receive down the stretch. Here's what general manager Neal Huntington said in a team-issued statement: 

"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," said Huntington. "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."

Pittsburgh will be responsible for paying the rest of Cervelli's salary (less than $3 million), while the Braves are on the tab for the prorated league minimum.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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