Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates have released veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli.
Pittsburgh announced the move Thursday. Cervelli, 33, had played for the Pirates since 2015. The 12-year veteran was hitting .193 with a home run and five RBIs in 34 games this season for Pittsburgh.
Cervelli hit .259 with a career-high 12 home runs and 57 RBIs in 104 games last season for the Pirates. Pirates executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington said Cervelli wanted to pursue an opportunity for more playing time and a chance to play in the postseason.
Cervelli has been on the injured list since May due to concussion symptoms. He was playing on the final year of a three-year, $31 million contract.
"As Francisco has worked through his rehabilitation, we have had multiple conversations with him and his agent regarding his projected playing time for the remainder of this season with the Pirates," Huntington said.
"Out of respect and appreciation for Francisco, we have chosen to honor his request to be released in order for him to pursue an opportunity that potentially gives him a chance at more playing time, as well as an opportunity this season to compete in the postseason.
"We appreciate who Francisco is and all he has done for the Pirates and the city of Pittsburgh. We believe this was the right move for the right reasons and wish Francisco well."
Cervelli spent his first seven seasons with the New York Yankees. He hit a career-best .301 during the 2014 season. Elias Diaz is starting for the Pirates Thursday against the Washington Nationals in Pittsburgh.