Cervelli day to day with right foot pain

Pirates easing fellow backstop Stewart into camp following September surgery

Cervelli day to day with right foot pain

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates added another key player to their early Spring Training injury list Sunday morning, when catcher Francisco Cervelli was removed from the club's workout due to right foot discomfort.

Cervelli is day to day, the Pirates announced. The origin and severity of the injury are unclear. Manager Clint Hurdle said he was not able to provide more detail and deferred to head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk, who speaks with reporters every Wednesday. Cervelli was not available to speak in the Pirates' clubhouse following the workout.

Cervelli was walking around the Pirate City complex with no apparent sign of injury early Sunday morning during the club's annual photo day.

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Cervelli, 30, was limited to 101 games last season due to a fractured hamate bone in his left hand and has dealt with a handful of injuries in his career. He left a game in Milwaukee in late July with similar "right foot discomfort" after taking a ball off the instep of his right foot, but missed no further time after that.

Statcast: Cervelli's great throw

The Pirates entered camp with one prominent injury, as first baseman Josh Bell is making progress in his return from minor knee surgery on Feb. 1. Bell has been hitting indoors and throwing, but he has not yet joined in defensive drills or on-field batting practice.

Cervelli is slated to be the Bucs' starting catcher after playing for Team Italy in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. His time away will provide more opportunities during Grapefruit League play for younger catchers like Elias Diaz, Jacob Stallings and Jin De Jhang.

The Pirates are easing Chris Stewart, Cervelli's backup, into the year with occasional lower-workload days this spring. Stewart battled through a knee injury last season and underwent season-ending surgery in September. With Cervelli and Stewart down and Diaz also injured at times, the Pirates wound up using six catchers last season.

Stewart's RBI single

Cervelli's batting average, home run total and slugging percentage dropped significantly from 2015-16, largely as a result of his hand injury, but he still put together a .377 on-base percentage. He was said to be healthy coming into Spring Training.

Right-hander Jason Stoffel, a non-roster invitee, has been held back at the start of camp due to right shoulder discomfort. The reliever has not thrown either of his scheduled bullpen sessions. The Bucs also listed Stoffel's status as day to day.

If he's healthy, Stoffel likely will open the year with Triple-A Indianapolis. The 28-year-old put up excellent numbers in the Orioles' system last season, posting a 2.44 ERA with 24 saves and 78 strikeouts in 59 innings over 55 appearances between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.