Francisco Cervelli Feels Like He’s a Kid Again

Pirates catcher says new workout & diet are paying off.

Jeff Hathhorn
March 17, 2018 - 6:26 pm
Francisco Cervelli

93.7 the Fan

Even Francisco Cervelli admits he’d rather homer in a real game, than in two straight Spring Training games.  However this may be a sign of changes working out for the oft-injured 32-year-old.

Cervelli changed his trainer, his workouts and his diet this off-season and says he feels like a little kid again with his flexibility and energy.  Cervelli stopped eating all gluten, dairy and fried foods while doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the winter.

“In the beginning it was weird, because I couldn’t move,” Cervelli said of the new off-season regiment.  “Little by little I was picking it up.  I did the right diet too, because the nutrition is a big part of this.  I have to keep doing this because I want to play for a long time.”

Asked if he’s noticed changes, manager Clint Hurdle was quick to answer.

“Oh my goodness yes, he wasn’t able to play last year at the end.  This for me is the best I’ve seen him move since we’ve had him.  He’s more athletic now.  He’s lighter on his feet.  We’ve seen some things early we haven’t seen in the past.”

Cervelli is also working on a new mentality at the plate, along with a new stance.  He joked that he didn’t know how to stand before as the coaches want him to be as quiet as possible in the batters’ box.

“What Cervi does a lot of times when he gets in trouble, his head and his body get ahead of his hands with his swing,” said Pirates hitting coach Jeff Branson.  “We’ve been working on shortening his stride so he can get his hands and barrel in front of his body, or in front of his eyes.”

Branson said they’ve given Cervelli a heavier bat and Branson believes he’s gotten better in the last few weeks.  Branson said Cervelli is getting that feel back and understanding what is being taught.

Cervelli is hitting .400 this spring with five of his eight hits going for extra bases, and he has as many walks as strikeouts.  The 10-year vet lasted only 81 games last season and had his worst batting average as a major leaguer at .249.

“Try to put the right gas for my car,” Cervelli said of 2018.  “I am a Ferrari and I want to treat my car the right way.”