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Elias Diaz to have elbow surgery

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have announced that catching prospect Elias Diaz will have surgery on his right elbow.  No details are known yet, except it apparently isn't going to be Tommy John surgery.  Diaz has been sidelined since spring training due to pain in the elbow.  He's reported experiencing pain occasionally for a long time, but previously it had been much milder.

Diaz was slated to open the season at Indianapolis and serve as the team's "third catcher."  Given the realities of catching, even without taking Francisco Cervelli's injury history into account, Diaz seemed likely to spend at least a little time with the Pirates this year.  With Cervelli eligible for free agency after this season, Diaz appeared to be the likely heir to the starting job.  For now, in the event of an injury the go-to catcher will probably be veteran Ed Easley.

Whether the injury increases the Pirates' interest in signing Cervelli to an extension, an interest of which there's no hard evidence as yet, remains to be seen.  Cervelli is having an even better year than he did in 2015 and was listed today by MLBTR at #9 on their 2017 free agent power rankings.  But . . . money.