PITTSBURGH — Just moments after Pirates manager Clint Hurdle shut veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli down for the remainder of the 2017 season, he called the development of rookie catcher Elias Diaz “one of the best things that happens in this month of September.”

Diaz, 26, has taken over the lion’s share of the catching duties with Cervelli on the shelf and he’ll be the starter going forward as the Pirates try to develop him into the catcher that he was always projected he could be.

The biggest hurdle to that goal to this point has been playing time. Diaz has been infrequently healthy while Cervelli played over 230 games over the last two seasons. Now, he’s making up for lost time in September.

“I think he’s improving,” Hurdle said. “I think he’s shown growth. I think it comes wi...

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