(USA Today Photo)

Pirates extend Francisco Cervelli through 2019 season

PITTSBURGH — Catcher Francisco Cervelli and the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a $31 million, three-year contract that runs from 2017-19.

"We are very pleased to be able to reach a joint commitment with a quality player and person like Francisco Cervelli," general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "We look forward to Francisco's abilities, passion and energy making us better."

Cervelli is making $3.5 million under a one-year contract and would have been eligible for free agency after this season. Under the deal announced Tuesday, he gets $9 million next year, $10.5 million in 2018 and $11.5 million in 2019.

The 30-year-old has a .284 career batting average and hit .295 last season with seven homers and 43 RBIs. He played seven seasons with the New York Yankees before joining the Pirates last season.

"I want to thank the Pirates organization for believing in me," Cervelli wrote in The Players' Tribune on Tuesday. "Thanks to my teammates: I'm proud to call you guys brothers. And last but not least, to the fans: You guys keep me going every night. That's amore. Pittsburgh is a city with a lot of love. When I arrived here, people didn't know who I was. But it didn't take long for me to feel the love and respect that the people of Pittsburgh have. That's why I am coming back.

"Thank you for not giving up on me. I promise that I will never give up on this team."

Cervelli entered Tuesday with a .276 average, 18 RBIs and 11 runs in 33 games.

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