Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pirates Spring Training 2015 Cervelli Working to Catch on with Pitching Staff's Tendencies

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pirates Spring Training 2015 Cervelli Working to Catch on with Pitching Staff's Tendencies

Article excerpt

TAMPA, Fla. - Though catcher Francisco Cervelli likely won't replicate the production of the man he is replacing, the man he is replacing is bullish on Cervelli's production.

"He plays the game the right way," said Russell Martin, who spent the past two years behind the plate for the Pirates before signing with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent. "He's got good actions behind the plate. He's got a good arm. It will be nice for him to get a full season under his belt and see what he can do."

So far, one of Cervelli's main tasks in preparing for what he and the Pirates hope will be a full season is familiarizing himself with his new pitching staff. Through film study and bullpen sessions, he has made progress.

"Spring training is long," Cervelli said. "This is a time when you want to know each guy and you're able to see details and everything."

At this point in spring, the pitchers are focusing on nailing fastball command, mixing in the occasional off-speed pitch. As time passes in March, Cervelli will get to know their whole arsenal. But he needs more information than that.

"The different part is, you got to talk to them and know them personally," he said. "Their personality is the most important thing [between] pitcher and catcher."

The Pirates coaching staff is paying attention to Cervelli's early work. Major league coach Brad Fischer, who works with the catchers, is watching where Cervelli sets up, his communication with the pitcher and the infielders, and the sequences he likes to call.

"I first put my eyes on him in 2010 when I was in Texas and watching him catch," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The ability to get in front of a ball, to block a ball, to take the sting out of it, keep it in front of the plate, it's very impressive. It's one of his strengths."

Cervelli saved a run Wednesday, blocking a ball in the dirt with a runner on third. …

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