PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates brought their battery off the disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Brewers at PNC Park. Pittsburgh activated starter Jameson Taillon, as anticipated, and brought back catcher Francisco Cervelli along with him.
Cervelli returned to the lineup for the first time since June 10 and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly in the Pirates' 3-2 win over the Brewers at PNC Park. He was placed on the disabled list June 11 as he underwent surgery to repair a fractured left hamate bone.
"Cervelli brings us an added dimension, an edge that's real. He knows the staff," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He knows the league. He's worked hard to get his way back in."
Signed to a three-year extension in May, Cervelli was hitting .257/.373/.293 with 21 RBIs in 49 games before going on the disabled list. He went 4-for-10 with three walks and an RBI for Triple-A Indianapolis. After those three games, Pittsburgh decided Cervelli was ready to get back behind the plate in the big leagues.
"It's not just getting through, but the energy he put in to playing and competing," Hurdle said. "It's always good when you hear about a guy pouring into the team, not just going down there to get himself right, not just punching the clock to get his at-bats in and move on."
The Pirates designated veteran catcher Erik Kratz for assignment to clear a roster spot for Cervelli. Kratz joined the Bucs after Cervelli's injury -- general manager Neal Huntington began considering his options as soon as he saw Cervelli leave the field -- and hit .107 with a homer and four RBIs.
But as Hurdle told Kratz after he was designated, the veteran catcher wasn't brought in for his offensive ability. The Pirates were pleased with his work behind the plate, helping guide the pitching staff to a 15-16 record while Cervelli was on the disabled list.
"We're very grateful for what he was able to pour in while he was here," Hurdle said. "What he was able to bring on the other side of the ball is what we specifically needed and hoping he'd bring. He brought all that and more."
Taillon was on the disabled list to rest his fatigued shoulder and manage his workload. To make room for his return, the Pirates optioned right-hander Chad Kuhl to Indianapolis.
Kuhl, the Bucs' No. 16 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, started Sunday's 18-inning win over the Nationals, his best outing in the Majors. He held the Nats to one hit and struck out five over six innings.
"A defining game for him," Hurdle said. "That's the guy we've talked about down in the Minor Leagues."
With four starting pitchers on their roster, the Pirates have an open rotation spot for Saturday's game against the Phillies. Top prospect Tyler Glasnow, who pitched Monday for Indianapolis, may be an option. Veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list Saturday.
"We've got a couple different options in play," Hurdle said. "We'll have somebody on the mound come Saturday. We'll figure it out."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.