Francisco Cervelli
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Pirates place Francisco Cervelli on 7-day concussion list

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli survived a scary moment during the fourth inning of Saturday’s 7-2 loss to the Dodgers. With two outs and a runner on second, Joc Pederson lifted a pitch to center field for the inning-ending out, but splintered his bat in the process and caught Cervelli’s helmet on the backswing.

In the bottom of the inning, Cervelli stepped up to the plate as if to take his next at-bat, but ultimately decided to remove himself from the game and was replaced by pinch-hitter Elias Díaz. Díaz doubled off of a Hyun-Jin Ryu changeup, then remained in the game to cover for Cervelli behind the dish. Reports cited “concussion-like symptoms” as the official reason for the catcher’s removal, and on Sunday, the Pirates placed Cervelli on the official 7-day concussion IL and recalled outfielder José Osuna from Triple-A Indianapolis in a corresponding move.

Saturday’s incident marked the continuation of an alarming trend for the 33-year-old, who has seen more than his fair share of concussions and concussion-like injuries during the span of his 12-year career in the majors. He missed nearly a month of the 2018 season after taking a foul tip off of his facemask; prior to that, he was diagnosed with four separate concussions from 2009 through 2017.

While it’s certainly plausible that Cervelli will make it back into the lineup before too long, no one could fault the Pirates for erring on the side of caution here. He’s expected to cede his missed starts to Díaz, who remains the only viable catching option on the 40-man roster at present.

MLB calls umpire union statement about Manny Machado discipline “inappropriate”

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Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.

This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:

“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline.  Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires.  We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.