Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli said he wants to return to catching after recovering from his sixth recorded concussion since 2011, which has held him out of action since May 25.
Cervelli was struck on the chin by a shard of broken bat in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and hasn’t played since.
But this latest injury may have led Cervelli, 33, to reevaluate his future behind the plate. Dejan Kovacevic of DK Pittsburgh Sports reported last week that Cervelli was done playing catcher.
“That’s enough,” Cervelli said, according to Kovacevic. “This time is different. I can’t live like this.”
“I’m ready to do anything,” added Cervelli, who has played first base, second base and first base sparingly in his 12-year career. “Wherever I am in the field, I’m still catching the ball, right?”
But Saturday, Cervelli asserted that he was misquoted and posted a photo on Instagram with a lengthy caption discussing his plan to return to the position.
“I never said that I don’t want to catch,” Cervelli said (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). “That was a misunderstanding. It never came from my mouth. That’s why I posted what I did [Friday]. It’s very clear.”
“I never had an official interview,” he added. “If you come to me with your cellphone recording, that’s an interview. We never had an interview.
“You’re going to do an interview, you better pull out your cellphone [to record it]. I believe if you do something more than one minute, you don’t have a computer in your head. You’re not going to use the right words.”
That’s not how Kovacevic, the publisher of DK Pittsburgh Sports, described his interaction with Cervelli. He wrote on his website that he and Cervelli have had a professional relationship for years.
“When he’s wanted to go off the record — which he’s done a ton — he’d say so in the clearest terms,” Kovacevic wrote. “In the case of our conversation last week, he passionately stated the following: ‘That’s enough. This time is different. I can’t live like this.’ He also offered vivid, excruciating detail of what he’d been through in his most recent concussion. And he never added that he wanted anything off the record.”
Kovacevic said he approached a team official before running the story who did not express concern with the content and had spoken with Cervelli about the topic.
After the article published, Kovacevic said Cervelli sent him a text message that read, “I should tell you to not say anything yet” until an upcoming doctor’s appointment.
Cervelli disagreed with the Kovacevic’s description, though, and called the situation a “misunderstanding.”
He did say, though, that he is taking his recovery slowly and seriously while contemplating what’s best for his health. In addition to the six concussions he’s endured in the big leagues, he said he’s suffered a number of other traumatic brain injuries from collisions at home plate and foul balls off the mask at different levels of play.
“I haven’t felt normal in a long time. I don’t [remember] normal,” Cervelli said. “I’m not saying that I feel bad. You think the way you feel is normal, and it’s not. I can be better than this. If I get to the goal that I set, I’ll be behind the plate.”
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