ShareThis Page
Clint Hurdle: Francisco Cervelli an option to play first base to keep his bat in Pirates lineup |

Clint Hurdle: Francisco Cervelli an option to play first base to keep his bat in Pirates lineup

Chris Adamski
| Thursday, July 12, 2018 5:30 p.m
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli takes the field against the Phillies on Sunday, July 8, 2018.

When Francisco Cervelli took grounders at first base earlier this week , it wasn’t just for fun.

The Pirates’ oft-injured starting catcher is an option to play the position as a means of keeping his productive bat as part of the offense, manager Clint Hurdle said Thursday.

“To get him a chance to stay in the lineup and not have to catch five, six days a week to stay in the lineup,” Hurdle said. “(The Giants’) Buster Posey has been the perfect model for this. To keep a productive bat in the lineup, frees up your second catcher to catching: (Elias) Diaz in our case (if) Cervelli can play some first, is how it could work out. So it’s definitely something we are trying to use moving forward with him.”

Cervelli and Diaz are why the Pirates lead MLB in OPS from their catchers (.852) by a wide margin (the runner-up Yankees are at .806, the No. 3 Cubs .762). Cervelli has a career-high nine home runs, his .382 on-base percentage leads the majors among catchers and his .838 OPS is second.

Diaz, for his part, has some of the best numbers for a backup catcher in MLB: seven home runs, .290 average, .830 OPS.

The Pirates, conversely, have gotten the least production out of first base in the National League: .664 OPS and six home runs.

Arguably the biggest name catcher in the majors over the past decade, Posey has played roughly a fifth of his MLB games at first base (222 as opposed to 862 catching).

Pirates starting first baseman Josh Bell has a .251 average and .707 OPS.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review steelers reporter. You can contact Chris via Twitter .

Categories: Pirates
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.