The Pirates have announced that they’ve placed catcher Francisco Cervelli on the 15-day DL with a broken hamate bone in his left hand. To take his place on the active roster, they’ve acquired fellow backstop Erik Kratz from the Angels for cash considerations. To make room for Kratz on the 40-man roster, they’ve designated reliever Trey Haley for assignment.
Cervelli had surgery today to remove a fractured hook of the hamate bone, the Pirates also announced. He is expected to return to baseball activities in four to six weeks. He left yesterday’s game against the Cardinals with hand pain after taking a swing. Cervelli was hitting .257/.373/.293 this season, posting his usual high on-base percentage but with little of the modest power he demonstrated during his breakout 2015 season. It’s possible his hand injury could further hamper his power once he returns.
Kratz will likely share the Pirates’ catching duties with Chris Stewart in the meantime. His acquisition was necessary in part because of an injury to Bucs catching prospect Elias Diaz, who ordinarily likely would have started in Cervelli’s place. Kratz (who, incidentally, made his big-league debut with the Bucs in 2010) has a career .210/.261/.381 line in parts of seven big-league seasons, although he rates as a good defender and solid framer, qualities the Pirates value highly in catchers. The Angels signed Kratz to a minor league deal two weeks ago after he was released by the Astros.
The Pirates signed Haley to a big-league deal last offseason despite a lack of previous big-league experience, then sent him to Triple-A Indianapolis. He throws very hard, routinely hitting the high 90s, but continues a longstanding pattern of struggling badly to throw strikes, with a 6.66 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 7.4 BB/9 in 24 1/3 Triple-A innings this year.