Longtime catcher Francisco Cervelli announced his retirement after 13 seasons on Saturday.
The 34-year-old Cervelli has battled concussion issues and he suffered his seventh documented one in August while playing for the Miami Marlins. He has suffered at least one concussion in each of the past four seasons.
Cervelli spent most of his career with the New York Yankees (2008-14) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2015-19) before finishing up with the Atlanta Braves (2019) and Marlins.
Cervelli, a native of Venezuela, made his announcement in Spanish on his Instagram account.
“I am retiring because the time has come to put my health before how much I enjoy this game,” Cervelli said in a translation of his announcement. “For a long time, I fought my bruises because I thought that baseball was my life. And in a sense it will always be.
“But it is clear that my life is broader than baseball. And I must think first of myself, also my family, my own mental and physical well-being and what is to come. This is why I made this decision. It’s time.”
Cervelli batted .268 with 41 homers and 275 RBIs in 730 career games. He batted .245 with three homers and seven RBIs in 16 games for the Marlins this year before going on the injured list.
Perhaps Cervelli’s most scary concussion occurred on May 25, 2019, when he was with the Pirates.
Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers fouled off a pitch in the fourth inning, and the bat broke, with the barrel connecting with Cervelli’s facemask. The catcher appeared dazed but initially stayed in the game.
Cervelli went up to bat in the bottom of the fourth but pulled away before a pitch was thrown. He walked back to the dugout and left the game.
Cervelli never played in another game for the Pirates and was released nearly three months later before hooking on with the Braves.
“People ask me if it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears. Of course it was and is worth it!” Cervelli said in his announcement. “Because baseball was, is and will be one of my great loves.”
–Field Level Media