New Braves catcher Francisco Cervelli gestures toward the dugout. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP
Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

Braves sign veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli 

The Braves signed veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli Saturday and it didn’t take long for him to help his new team.

Cervelli started later in the night against the New York Mets and he finished with three hits and three RBIs in the 9-5 victory. Cervelli also threw out a baserunner.

It was his first major-league game since May 25.

"I was playing like a little kid," Cervelli said. "That's all that matters, man. From now on, just enjoy every game, every opportunity, and do what I have to do."

Cervelli, 33, appeared in 34 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, batting .193 in 109 at-bats. He’d been with the Pirates since 2015 and was Pittsburgh’s opening-day catcher each season. He asked to be released so he could join a contender.

The Braves created room on the 25-man roster by optioning catcher Alex Jackson to Triple-A Gwinnett. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Braves transferred reliever Grant Dayton to the 60-day injured list. 

Cervelli, who had dealt with a history of concussions throughout his career, will fill a need for the Braves while catcher Brian McCann is on the injured list. Tyler Flowers is the Braves’ other catcher.

Cervelli played in 450 games with the Pirates and had a .362 on-base percentage, a mark topped only by San Francisco’s Buster Posey (.368) among major league catchers in that time. 

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Cervelli, who bats and throws right-handed, spent the first seven years of his major league career with the New York Yankees. Cervelli was traded to Pittsburgh on November 12, 2014 for LHP Justin Wilson. 

A native of Valencia, Venezuela, Cervelli is a career .269 hitter, with 36 home runs and 261 RBIs in 700 games. 

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