Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli walked back some of the comments he made last week after posting a lengthy caption on Instagram. “Saying that I quit from my catcher responsibilities is inaccurate,” he wrote. “My hope is to catch again.”
Cervelli went on to explain that while he’s concerned about his health and recovery from multiple concussions, he’s not ready to call it quits anytime soon, either:
Not being in the catcher spot right now is part of the process of recovery from several concussions that have forced me to stop and think about my health beyond my baseball years, that have made me reflect on my health and my life in general and how my decisions affect other people that want the best for me in the long run.
I keep working hard, there’s no other way for me to do things. I love baseball but I also have to take care of myself. I want to take care of myself and have quality of life now and hopefully from many more years.
This requires to reinvent myself, have patience and keep working. In other words, to my fans, rest assured that I am working hard on my recovery and I will come back with more strength and the same passion I have always had for this sport. That, I can assure you: I have nothing other than passion, gratitude and love for what I do, for this sport.
This isn’t just a job for me. This is part of my life and I can’t live my life without injecting passion and energy, heart and mind into what I do, whatever that is.
That certainly wasn’t the tune the 33-year-old backstop was singing last Sunday, when he revealed to Dejan Kovacevic of DK Pittsburgh Sports that he was having doubts about his ability to continue catching in light of the six concussions he’s weathered over the last decade.
It’s not clear what changed over the last five days—whether he felt his quotes were taken out of context, whether the club exerted pressure on him to push a more positive narrative, or whether he had a genuine change of heart—but Cervelli seems intent on extending his time in the majors. He remains on the 10-day injured list following his most recent concussion, however, with no set return date and a murky future with the Pirates beyond 2019.
Right now, the club looks pretty content with their talented catching duo of Elias Díaz and Jacob Stallings, and finding a spot for Cervelli may not be feasible if/when he works his way back up to full health later this year. It’s possible that he could secure a minor league gig when he hits free agency this fall, but regardless of personal inclination toward or away from catching, his days behind the plate may already be numbered.