CHICAGO -- Francisco Cervelli lifted his right arm to reveal a baseball-sized welt on the inside of his forearm.The mark was from a hit-by-pitch the previous night — his ninth this season, a career-high — and he was icing the area to prepare for a game in a few hours.
“They all throw hard,” he told me, smiling. “Four times in two weeks. Same spot, too.”
Cervelli missed two games after being hit on that spot during a win over the White Sox last month. He was also stricken with flu-like symptoms in late May, forcing him to miss three games. That’s about all that’s slowed him. The 31-year-old leads National League catchers in multiple offensive categories, putting him in position to represent the Pirates at the All-Star Game in Washington D.C. on July 17.
It took more than a bag of ice, though, to keep Cervelli on the field for a breakthrough in his 11th major-league season.