Bucs’ GM seeking change

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington wants Major League Baseball to consider changing its concussion assessment system to allow for player re-entry after exiting a game for concussion testing.

Huntington offered the suggestion Sunday, a day after Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli suffered a head injury.

Cervelli was struck by the barrel of Joc Pederson’s broken bat with two outs in the fourth inning. After being assessed on the field by a trainer, he remained in the game before removing himself in the bottom of the inning after briefly stepping into the batter’s box.

Huntington says that if a player knows he must leave a game to enter concussion testing, he’s less likely to report symptoms.

“Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game,” said Huntington. “Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Cervelli, 33, has a long history with head injuries during his 12-year career, with six documented concussions since 2011. He was placed on the 7-day concussion list Sunday.

“The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him,” Huntington said. “He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”


n Top pitching prospect Mitch Keller will make his major league debut for the Pirates in a doubleheader tonight against the Cincinnati Reds. The 23-year-old Keller is being called upon to help a depleted rotation that has struggled without injured Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams. He’ll start the nightcap after Nick Kingham pitches the opener. The Pirates have been reluctant to rush Keller to the big leagues. He struggled in spring training but regained some confidence in Triple-A, where he’s 5-0 with 47 strikeouts in his last seven starts after adding a slider/cutter to his pitch arsenal.

“In a perfect world, we would’ve given him some more time,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday. “We’re not in a perfect world. We feel like he’s ready to come up here and compete.”

n Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-1) allowed a season-high 10 hits but managed to clamp down when necessary to get through six innings as the Dodgers beat the Pirates, 7-2, late Saturday night for the 10th straight time.

The game was delayed by rain for almost two hours.

“They were pretty aggressive at the plate and some of my pitches weren’t as sharp as I wanted them to be,” Ryu said after his ERA ticked up to 1.65. “At the end of the day I did give up a lot of hits and it hurts to give up that many hits but I was able to limit damage.”

Ryu gave the Dodgers the lead for good in the fourth when he turned a full-count fastball from Joe Musgrove (3-5) into a double to the gap in right-center field that scored Chris Taylor to put Los Angeles up 3-2.

His double was one of eight by the Dodgers on the night, the most by any team in the majors this season. Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager both doubled and drove in two runs. Bellinger finished 2 for 4 to boost his major-league leading batting average to .391. Max Muncy added two doubles of his own as Los Angeles won for the eighth time in 10 games.

It was all the Pirates would get against Ryu. Though Starling Marte had three of Pittsburgh’s 11 hits whileJosh Bell and Kevin Newman chipped in two hits apiece the Pirates lost for the fourth time in five games after going 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position and leaving eight men on base.

“We pushed a guy that nobody’s pushed for a while,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “Nine hits through the first five innings (but) … we weren’t able to add on.”

Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli left in the fourth inning with concussion-like symptoms shortly after getting hit by Bellinger’s bat. Cervelli, who has dealt with concussions each of the last two seasons, will be re-evaluated on Sunday. If he heads to the injured list, he’d push Pittsburgh’s total number of players who have been put on the list to 21, the most in the majors.

“I think there’s a part of (Cervelli) that doesn’t ever want to come out of games,” Hurdle said. “There’s a part of him that also thinks, ‘You know what, I’m not going to do myself any good by continuing, either.’ He’s had enough experienced through it all by now that he knows when it’s time to back away.”