Tag:Andrew McCutchen
Posted on: July 4, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Hurdle upset with McCutchen's snub

Clint Hurdle

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wasn't happy about Andrew McCutchen's All-Star snub and made sure everyone knew about before Monday's game against the Astros.

John Grupp of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review passes along Hurdle's tirade:

"I know the challenges that come from [picking an All-Star team]," said Hurdle, who managed the NL All-Star team in 2008. "I sat in that chair. Well, I'm going to take this opportunity and be one of those managers and be disappointed in the entire process. The MLB whiffed. That he's not one of the guys getting in this little vote thing, getting into play in that. They whiffed on that. That's an absolute whiff."

"Look at the numbers he has," Hurdle said. "You can look at metrics. You can look at straight batting average, OPS, stolen bases. Whatever you want to look at, he's an All-Star.

"The players, they whiffed. Everybody whiffed on this one for me, in Andrew's case. Being his manager, I'm going to take my 42 seconds of soap box and remind everybody what a whiff-job they did with him not being on the All-Star team."

McCutchen entered Monday with a slash line of .294/.393/.498 with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases. He's absolutely one of the best players in the National League, and not just outfielders.

The fans voted for the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, Brewers' Ryan Braun and Cardinals' Lance Berkman, while the players added St. Louis' Matt Holliday, Cincinnati's Jay Bruce and Houston's Hunter Pence. National League manager Bruce Bochy added Carlos Beltran of the Mets and Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks. Upton was the Diamondbacks' lone representative. 

The five players on the Final Vote ballot are the Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, Diamondbacks right-hander Ian Kennedy, Nationals first baseman Mike Morse and Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.

McCutchen is second in WAR (3.7) among NL outfielders according to Baseball-Reference.com and sixth among NL outfielders in OPS (.892) and fifth in OPS+ (150).

In the end, Hurdle knows exactly the reason McCutchen was overlooked and pointed that out as well -- "The name on the front of the jersey has some challenges with it," Hurdle said. "We're out to knock them down. That has been our goal since the start of the season. This is another one we've faced and we'll knock this one down as well."

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 4:41 pm
 

McCutchen leads All-Snub team

Andrew McCutchen

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Many years on the day that the All-Star teams are announced, people bemoan the fan voting and selections that pick big names over deserving starters. This year won't be one of those years because for the most part the fans made good picks, as CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler points out the fans and players agreed on 14 of the 17 selections. The lone starter that is obviously not worthy is Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is expected to come off the disabled list on Monday. Jeter's hitting just .260/.324/.324 so far this season, but he's still Derek Jeter -- not to mention his chase of 3,000 hits.

But no matter how many deserving players make the game, with a roster of 33 (plus another to be added, but even those on the 34th man ballot are eligible for our team, because four of those five won't be voted in) there are deserving players who won't be making the trip to Phoenix.

So here you go, the CBSSports.com All-Snub team:

C: Speaking of the fans getting it right, this is one position where the deserving player was voted in for both leagues, Detroit's Alex Avila and Atlanta's Brian McCann. With the Yankees' Russell Martin, Baltimore's Matt Wieters and St. Louis' Yadier Molina, the five most deserving players at the position are headed to Phoenix. The best of those left out is already in Phoenix -- the Diamondbacks' Miguel Montero, who is hitting .270/.344/.457 with nine homers. 

Paul Konerko1B: This position is so loaded that it's almost as tough picking its All-Snub member as it is the All-Star representatives. The fans got it right with Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder, while Albert Pujols sits at home during the break for the first time since 2002. Both Mark Teixeira and Paul Konerko have strong cases for the All-Snub pick, and in the end I'm going to go with Konerko, who is hitting .317/.387/.567 with 21 homers by a nose over Teixeira and his 25 homers.

2B: Robinson Cano's 2011 hasn't equaled his 2010 and wouldn't be my pick at second base in the American League, but it's hard to get worked up and say the fans got it wrong on a guy hitting .292 with 14 homers at second base. The All-Snub representative is tough here, with the choice between the Rays' Ben Zobrist (.261/.347/.463) and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox (.277/.391/.406). Because I like speed, I'll take Pedroia and his 15 steals and higher walk rate, but just by a tad. Zobrist is on the 34th man ballot, so he's still got a chance. Apologies also to the Nationals' Danny Espinosa who has 15 homers already.

SS: We've discussed Jeter, but let's just acknowledge the fans noticing Jose Reyes -- even though it'd be tough to call yourself a fan and not notice what Reyes has done. The All-Snub goes to Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers, who is having a fabulous season, hitting .311/.359/.538 with 14 homers and solid defense to go with it.

3B: Arizona's Ryan Roberts wasn't even on the ballot, but he's had a fantastic first half of the season, hitting .251/.338/.430 with 10 homers and 12 stolen bases. He's a terror on the basepaths and has been one of the best all-around players at the position. Kevin Youkilis has better offensive numbers -- including 56 RBI -- but defensively he's played much like a first baseman playing at third. San Diego's Chase Headley has had a good season as well, but his glove also holds him back.

Alex GordonLF: You could certainly have made a case for Kansas City's Alex Gordon as a starter in the American League. Gordon came into the season as yesterday's news, a failed top prospect in the way of the Royals' youth movement. However, he's been the Royals' best player so far this season, hitting .301/.368/.491 with 10 home runs.

CF: I still can't believe Andrew McCutchen's name wasn't on the All-Star list, he's the best all-around center fielder in the game. He's hitting .289/.390/.493 with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases while leading the surprising Pirates to their first winning record in years. 

RF: I'm fudging here, because the All-Star Game often has outfielders playing out of their normal spots, and here I'm going with the Phillies' Shane Victorino. The Phillies lineup as a whole has struggled for production and consistency, but Victorino has given them both. He's hitting .299/.371/.515 with nine home runs and 34 RBI. He's also a very good defender.

DH: You want some roster flexibility? You get it with this DH, who can also serve as a backup catcher -- oh, and Victor Martinez can bash. Martinez is hitting .335/.383/.490 with six home runs.

Starting pitcher: This one is interesting, because I'm going to exclude CC Sabathia, who not only didn't want to be selected, but will also ineligible to pitch in the game when he starts next Sunday. With Sabathia out of the way, I'm going with the Braves' Tommy Hanson, who is 9-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 15 starts, with more than a strikeout an inning and a league-low 6.2 hits allowed per nine innings.

Middle reliever: These guys are used to being overlooked, but that's not to say they aren't worthy. Since Braves' setup man Jonny Venters was named an All-Star, I'm going with David Robertson of the Yankees. Only in middle relief can a Yankee go unnoticed, but Robertson has been fantastic this season. In 33 1/3 innings this season, the right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA, striking out 53 batters in 33 1/3 innings of work. He's allowed just four earned runs this season in 36 outings.

Closer: While Atlanta's Venters was recognized, his closer, Craig Kimbrel, was not. Kimbrel leads the majors with 24 saves and has a 2.57 ERA. He's struck out 67 batters in 42 innings, with 18 walks.

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 6:49 pm
 

Five days later, McCutchen loses double

By Matt Snyder

Andrew McCutchen came through with a two-run double Saturday against the Mets to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead. Only it's not a double anymore. It was announced Thursday that the MLB scoring committee reviewed the play and changed the ruling to an error on third baseman Daniel Murphy (MLB.com).

With one fell swoop, McCutchen's 15-game hitting streak was thereby reduced to four and he lost two RBI. Oh, the Fantasy implications. R.A. Dickey, on the other hand, was helped. Those two runs are now unearned.

In fast motion, it appeared to be the correct call of a hit. When you see the slow-mo replay, however, Murphy went down the ground far too early for the misplay. It's a good bet if David Wright was healthy and over there he'd have come up with the play. Watch the video below and see for yourself.



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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 9, 2011 1:32 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Pirates reach .500

Andrew McCutchen

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- The Pirates evened their record at 30-30 on the season in large part because of their center fielder. McCutchen had a hand in all three of the Pirates' run, including the walk-off homer in the 12th. McCutchen's sacrifice fly in the third gave the Pirates an early lead and then he extended the game in the 10th when he doubled and scored on Neil Walker's single. He ended the game in the 12th with his shot off Zach Kroenke to lead off the inning.

Ryan Dempster, Cubs -- The Cubs warmed up Rodrigo Lopez just in case Dempster couldn't start because of a pain he felt in his hip before the game. Turns out, he was fine -- allowing just one run on three hits in six innings, striking out eight and ending the Cubs' eight-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over Cincinnati. With the win, Dempster now has 107 career wins, the second-most by any Canadian player -- just 177 behind Ferguson Jenkins.

Ben Revere, Twins -- Starting in the place of Denard Span, Revere led off against the Indians and finished with three singles. All three of his singles figured in the Twins' three runs of the day, as he drove in two and scored one. His two-out single in the 10th scored Drew Butera and gave Minnesota the victory.


Don Kelly, Tigers -- Kelly had a solo homer to put the Tigers on the board in the first inning, but then with bases loaded in the third inning, he air mailed a throw home on Craig Gentry's grounder to third, allowing a run to score. Covering home on the play, he couldn't come up with the throw from the catcher, as Chris Davis scored to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Josh Hamilton followed with a two-run double. That's all Alexi Ogando needed in a 7-3 Rangers win.

Danny Duffy, Royals -- One of Kansas City's vaunted rookie class is having a tough go of it so far in the big leagues. Duffy gave up five runs and eight hits while walking four in his four innings in Wednesday's 9-8 loss to the Blue Jays. Duffy is now 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA in five starts. 

Oakland Athletics -- The A's have now lost nine in a  row. During their slide, the team has scored 26 runs and allowed 53, being shut out twice. It's their longest losing streak since a 10-game slide in July, 2008. They head to Chicago to begin a four-game series with the White Sox on Thursday.

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Best first-round picks of the last decade



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With the MLB Draft beginning Monday night at 7 p.m. ET, the Eye on Baseball crew is going to look at the best -- and worst -- first-round draft picks by each team in the last 10 years. 

With the way the baseball draft goes, there are plenty of busts in the first round every year, but there are a lot of great players in the game that were drafted in the first round and the supplemental first round. Tomorrow we'll look at the misses, but for today, here are the hits.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Most first overall picks make the majors and many (Alex Rodrgiuez, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones) find their way to superstardom. Justin Upton may not be a superstar yet, but the first overall pick of the 2005 draft already has one All-Star appearance under his belt and will probably have more to come.

Atlanta Braves: With the 14th pick in the 2007 draft, the Braves took a local kid, outfielder Jason Heyward. Nice pick.

MLB Draft

Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters is close to taking this spot, but for now it's still Nick Markakis, who was taken with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft out of Young Harris College in Georgia.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox had five picks in the first round and the supplemental first round in 2005, and as good as Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie are, the pick here is right-hander Clay Buchholz, taken 42nd overall out of Angelina College.

Chicago Cubs: While his name is now a cautionary tale, it's easy to forget just how good Mark Prior was before arm trouble. Drafted with the second pick of the 2001 draft, he won six games in 2002 and 18 in 2003, his best season. Overall, Prior was 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA.

Gordon BeckhamChicago White Sox: Even with his struggles last year and this season, Gordon Beckham has been a productive player for the White Sox after he was taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Cincinnati Reds: Taken out of high school with the 12th overall pick in 2005, Jay Bruce is the reigning National League Player of the Month and only seems to be getting better at 24. He already has 85 homers in his career, including a National League-best 17 this season.

Cleveland Indians: How bad have the Indians' first-round picks been the last decade? The 18 players taken by Cleveland in the first round and the supplemental first round over the last 10 years have collected just 506 games in the majors, 334 for Cleveland. Lonnie Chisenhall (29th overall in 2008) may eventually be their best in this list, but for right now it's the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie, who at least has 40 big-league wins.

Colorado Rockies: While the Indians' choice was tough, the Rockies' wasn't -- Troy Tulowitzki was taken with the seventh overall pick in 2005.

Detroit Tigers: With the second pick in 2004, the Tigers took Justin Verlander.

Florida Marlins: The team's best pick of the last decade came in the fourth round of the 2002 draft when it took high school pitcher Josh Johnson, but as far as first-round picks, their best is right-hander Chris Volstad, taken with the 16th pick of the 2005 draft.

Chris BurkeHouston Astros: The Astros didn't have first-round picks in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and haven't had much production from any of them. There's really just two choices, Chris Burke (10th overall, 2001) and Jason Castro (10th overall, 2008). Castro has potential, but is out this season and has played in just 67 big league games, so the pick is Burke, who played in parts of six seasons with three teams, but his 18th-inning walk-off homer (left) to clinch the 2005 NLDS against the Braves is one of the franchise's signature moments.

Kansas City Royals: This choice could be much more difficult in five years, but for now it's pretty easy -- Zack Greinke. The Royals selected him sixth overall in the 2002 draft and he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jered Weaver was the 12th pick of the 2004 draft.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers took lefty Clayton Kershaw with the seventh pick of the 2006 draft out of a Texas high school.

Milwaukee Brewers: This could change in a couple of years, but for now, Prince Fielder (seventh overall, 2002) leads Ryan Braun (fifth overall, 2005). Fielder is a free agent this offseason, while Braun is under contract through 2020.

Minnesota Twins: There were those who questioned the pick of hometown boy Joe Mauer with the first pick in the 2001 draft instead of Prior. Not anymore.

New York Mets: Fred Wilpon may not think he's a franchise player, but David Wright is the team's best first-round pick in the last decade, taken with the 38th overall pick in 2001.

New York Yankees: The Yankees have plenty of first-round picks on their roster, although few were their picks. Two key pitchers, starter Phil Hughes (23rd overall in 2004) and reliever Joba Chamberlain (41st overall in 2006), were Yankee picks. The pick here is Chamberlain, who has allowed fewer runs in a similar number of innings and is currently pitching.

Oakland Athletics: A chapter of the book Moneyball focuses on the 2002 MLB Draft and Billy Beane's distaste of drafting high school players. In the book, the team is excited the Brewers take a player they won't touch (Fielder), and the team also doesn't want Zack Greinke, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels or Matt Cain -- all high school player. But they get the man they want the most, Nick Swisher at No. 16. It's a good pick, as is Joe Blanton at 24 -- but it's hardly Greinke, Fielder, Hamels or Cain. The team also picked Jeremy Brown, a catcher out of Alabama, and Mark Teahen in the supplemental round. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Another pick from the Moneyball draft, the pick after the A's took Swisher, the Phillies snatched up Hamels, the left-hander from a California high school with the 17th pick.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 2005 draft featured six players listed as center fielders taken in the first round -- and all six have made the big leagues. The second one taken was the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen with the 11th overall pick. The others were Cameron Maybin (10), Bruce (12), Trevor Crowe (14), Ellsbury (23) and Colby Rasmus (28).

San Diego Padres: The Padres may have had one of the biggest busts of the last decade in Matt Bush, the first overall pick in 2004 draft, but he's not been their only bad pick. The best of the lot was Khalil Greene, taken No. 13 in 2002, who had a promising start of his career, but his troubles with social anxiety disorder drove him from the game. Still, he's the Padres' career leader in homers by a shortstop with 84.

San Francisco Giants: Nine teams passed on the right-hander out of Washington, some scared off by his funky motion and small stature. Tim Lincecum proved them wrong.

Evan LongoriaSeattle Mariners: Adam Jones (37th pick in 2003) played in just 73 games for the Mariners, but was named an All-Star and won a Gold Glove with the Orioles in 2009.

St. Louis Cardinals: With a compensation pick for the Red Sox signing Edgar Renteria, the Cardinals used the 28th pick of the 2005 draft to take Rasmus out of an Alabama High School.

Tampa Bay Rays: Were Luke Hochevar and Greg Reynolds better than Evan Longoria? The Royals and Rockies took those two right-handers with the first two picks of the 2006 draft, leaving Longoria (left) for the Rays.

Texas Rangers: Funny story here -- in 2001 I was working at the Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia and was covering the NCAA Regional in Athens when a Teixeira-led Georgia Tech squad was bounced from the tournament. After his last game, a kid from the student radio station asked Teixeira if he thought his poor showing in the regional would hurt his draft status. The Georgia Tech coach, Danny Hall, took the microphone before Teixeira could answer and said, "No." So did the Rangers, who took him fifth overall.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays took lefty Ricky Romero out of Cal State Fullerton with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft.

Washington Nationals: Another pick that could change with the emergence of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but that's still several years away because of the fourth pick of the 2005 draft,  Ryan Zimmerman.

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 10:26 am
 

Pepper: Rivalry weekend in MLB



By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: Excited about rivals getting together? Danny Knobler joins Adam Aizer to look at some exciting matchups as the weekend approaches. Watch the video above.

FOUR INNINGS FOR WEBB: Brandon Webb made another start in extended spring training Thursday and pitched four innings. The big issue thus far in his rehab progress has been velocity, specifically a lack thereof. Thursday he reportedly averaged around 84 m.p.h. and topped out at 86. That's still pretty bad for someone who wants to be an effective major-league pitcher -- unless he plans on being a great knuckleballer -- but it is an improvement from what we've heard over the course of the past month, when he was sitting high-70s and low-80s. Considering he's still pain-free, maybe some progress is being made. (ESPN Dallas)

SQUEEZED: Based upon data from PitchFX, BaseballAnalytics.org checked out which pitchers have had the fewest percentage of called strikes within what is supposed to be the strike zone. It's pretty interesting, because one of the biggest problems with the strike zone is how many of the umpires seem to have their own interpretation. Topping the list of the people who have been the most squeezed is Nelson Figueroa. As the site pointed out, if we had robot umpires, maybe he'd still be pitching for Houston instead of Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Cardinals BULLPEN SORTED OUT: Since removing Ryan Franklin from the role, the Cardinals had not really named a closer, but it's a pretty foregone conclusion at this point that young Eduardo Sanchez is the closer, as he's saved four games in four chances. Hard-throwing right-hander Jason Motte is their put-out-the-fire guy. "Last year he was very successful doing that, coming in in the middle of an inning and pitching out of it," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "You have to kind of remember what he did there. Because there is a need for a guy like that." (MLB.com)

WHAT ABOUT THE Braves? After Craig Kimbrel went out and blew his third save of the young season Wednesday night, a Braves beat writer (AJC.com) brought up the subject of having Jonny Venters be the closer -- or at least be part of a committee with Kimbrel. He makes a good piont that Kimbrel is the long-term closer and has elite-closer stuff, but that Venters has been so dominant and the Braves are trying to win now. So it's a conundrum. It wasn't a save situation, but Kimbrel's outing Thursday night should stave off any temporary concerns for the time being. He struck out all three batters he faced in a tie game and ended up getting a win.

BUMPED: This is at least mildly humorous. The Mets were forced to stay an extra night in Colorado due to a rainout (I'm sure Carlos Beltran is now fine with the decision), but they had to relocate to a new hotel because they were bumped ... by the Padres, who face the Rockies in a weekend series starting Friday and arrived a day early. It really does seem like the weirdest stuff always happens to the Mets, whether it's due to self-sabotage or uncontrollable outside factors. (ESPN New York)

WALK-OFF WALKS: The boys over at Big League Stew have put together a compilation of everything you've ever wanted to know about walk-off walks. For example, did you know two pitchers issued four walk-off walks in their respective careers? Hall of Famer Goose Gossage did it three times. As for hitters, Jorge Posada is the active leader with three career walk-off walks. I better stop now, lest I reach my allotment of saying "walk-off walk" for the entire season in one paragraph.

GREAT SKIPPERS: ESPN.com's Sweetspot blog ranked the top 10 managers of all-time. The highest active manager (well, the only one) on the list was Tony La Russa, who checked in at sixth. Interestingly, Joe Torre was eighth while Bobby Cox was third, rankings sure to draw the ire of the people who put a good amount more stock on the postseason than the regular season.

WORST HAT EVER: Jim Caple of ESPN.com offers up his pick for the worst cap in major-league history -- the Seattle Pilots' 1969 monstrosity -- and he'll certainly get no argument from me. Man, that thing is awful.

CASHMAN'S CONTRACT: While everyone is concentrating on CC Sabathia's contract situation at the conclusion of this season, when it comes to the Yankees, there is another contract negotiation that will occur. General manager Brian Cashman's deal is going to expire after the season. Though both Sabathia and Cashman figure to stay put, the always-thoughtful River Blues Avenue opines that the Cashman negotiations will be "messier," most notably because ownership went over his head in the Derek Jeter and Rafael Soriano signings.

ANOTHER SLOW START: Adam LaRoche has been pretty terrible for the Nationals thus far, but he's trying not to worry about it from an individual perspective. There's a good reason for that, as he's been there, done that. “I wouldn’t say I’m stressing over it, because I’ve been there so many times in my career,” LaRoche said (Washington Times). “But the frustrating part is not what the average is, it’s the fact that you look back and think, ‘Man if I’d have been doing a little more, we may have won two or three extra games.’” Not only does LaRoche have several awful starts under his belt, but he's one of the most drastically streaky hitters in baseball. He'll get hot. And then he'll go stone cold again. It's a cycle with LaRoche.

HUMBLED STAR: Andrew McCutchen was benched Thursday night for not running to first on a dropped third strike the previous night. It was a good move by manager Clint Hurdle to make sure it didn't become a recurring problem, and it doesn't appear it will. "I know that's not the type of person I am," McCutchen said on Thursday. "I let my emotions get the best of me. I took it out on my bat and myself when I shouldn't have been mad. I was just frustrated at the time and not focused on the game, not focused that the ball was in the dirt with two strikes and I needed to run to first." (MLB.com) I feel like it's important to note that McCutchen is generally a hustler and this shouldn't be discussed any further. He's a good guy and a good player who made a mistake. End of story.

NO RETIREMENT: Dodgers relief pitcher Hong Chih-Kuo is one of the better relievers in the game when he's mentally right. It's just that he seems to suffer from the yips on occasion. He's currently on the disabled list with anxiety disorder as the Dodgers have reported he's too scared to take the mound right now. Kuo's agent did say Thursday that there are no plans to retire, though, and he's going to battle his way back. It's one of Kuo's traits, actually, as he's had four surgeries, including Tommy John surgery twice. He always comes back, so this time won't be any different. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: May 12, 2011 1:01 am
 

Andrew McCutchen, back at leadoff, hitting bombs

By Evan Brunell

McCManager Clint Hurdle saw so much potential in Andre McCutchen's bat that he inserted the center fielder into the No. 3 spot to start the year.

It took just 11 games for Hurdle to change his mind and return McCutchen to the leadoff spot after he hit .220/.333/.415 with two doubles and homers apiece. That power was still there, but McCutchen's hits just weren't coming. Since then, he's raking at a .253/.346/.462 clip with five blasts coming into Wednesday's game, which becomes all the more impressive once you notice that four of his homers have come since April 29. His batting line since: .326/.396/.651.

"It's been so close at times where he is holding his backside good and he's getting that barrel out in front of him," Hurdle said. "And then you saw a night like [Monday in a 1-for-5 performance] where it was just a click off and he hit four flat balls. He just wasn't on time. Then he shows up [Tuesday; 3-for-4 with two homers] where he holds that backside and he's squaring that ball up. It looks so effortless. He's been close."

Hurdle doesn't plan on removing McCutchen from the leadoff spot anytime soon. While his future remains at No. 3 in the order, it makes complete sense to keep McCutchen atop the order to build up his numbers and confidence.

"I feel a little different," McCutchen said before posting an 0-for-4 game with two whiffs Wednesday agains Hiroki Kuroda, who stifled the entire team. "I feel a little more comfortable as far as my swing goes. It's just all about putting it together. I've been getting my hits here and there, feeling fairly well. Things are starting to turn around."

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Posted on: May 10, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Pirates want to extend McCutchen five years

By Matt Snyder

The Pirates have been talking to star center fielder Andrew McCutchen about a contract extension for just over a week. Tuesday, Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the Pirates are "insisting on at least" a five-year extension. It makes sense, because McCutchen has four arbitration years remaining, so the Pirates are looking to eat up at least one free agency season. It's not a way of being cheap, it's actually more a way to trying to solidify the future and build around McCutchen.

The timing is quite good for the Pirates to make a deal of this sort. They are currently above .500 and starting to win back some fans. Purging good players via trade has long turned fans away, so taking the opportunity to sign McCutchen long-term in the midst of playing good baseball would do wonders for the franchise's popularity at present. The die-hard fans know this ownership group and general manager are working on a plan and haven't made the types of moronic moves as have groups in the past, but locking up McCutchen for five or six years would prove it to the masses and help shed the stigma.

McCutchen, 24, is certainly worthy of building around. Last season, his first full one in the majors, he hit .286 with 35 doubles, five triples, 16 home runs, 56 RBI, 94 runs, 33 stolen bases and an .814 OPS.

He's got speed and power, and the type of charisma that makes him the perfect face of the new Pirates.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com