Juan Rivera returns ahead of schedule from torn hamstring

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Juan Rivera is off the disabled list and back on the Dodgers’ active roster just four weeks after tearing his hamstring, which was initially expected to be a two-month recovery timetable.

To make room for Rivera’s return the Dodgers optioned Scott Van Slyke back to Triple-A after he went 6-for-31 (.194) with one homer in his first taste of the big leagues at age 25.

Rivera’s absence opened the door for Bobby Abreu to claim a big role in the Dodgers’ outfield, so manager Don Mattingly figures to use Rivera as a part-timer primarily versus left-handed pitching.

Pirates release Francisco Cervelli

Francisco Cervelli
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The Pittsburgh Pirates just announced that they have released catcher Francisco Cervelli. No waivers, no DFA. Just his unconditional release.

Cervelli had been on a rehab assignment in the minors in his efforts to come back from a concussion. He had been sidelined since May, and there had been no timeline for his return, but he played in a minor league game as recently as Monday.

Over the summer, however, Cervelli voiced doubts about his ability to continue catching in light of the six concussions he’s weathered over the last decade. At one point he said he could not catch again but then walked it back. Whether his release was requested and whether Cervelli plans to end his big league career is not yet known.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about this soon.

UPDATE: Um, OK. Based on this I guess it’s more of a matter of the Pirates simply not wanting him anymore: