The Pirates are expected to place reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen on the 15-day disabled list with a severe oblique strain, reports Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He could miss three weeks to a month according to Cook's source.
McCutchen left Sunday afternoon's game after taking a swing and grabbing his left side. Here's the play:
The Diamondbacks hit McCutchen with a pitch in his back and near his oblique on Saturday as retaliation for the Pirates accidentally hitting Paul Goldschmidt on Friday. Goldschmidt suffered a broken hand and is done for the year.
McCutchen had x-rays after being hit by the pitch and he told reporters everything came back clean. The oblique injury could be the result of the swing -- players pull obliques on swings all the time -- or it could be the result of the beaning. There's no real way to know.
McCutchen, 27, is hitting .311/.411/.536 (167 OPS+) with 32 doubles, 17 home runs, 67 RBI, 17 stolen bases and a league-leading 67 walks in 109 games this year. He's actually performing better than he did during his MVP campaign last summer.
The Pirates are currently a half-game back of the second wild-card spot and 1½ games back of the top spot in the NL Central, so losing arguably the best player in the NL for a month or so is devastating. There's no way to replace a player like McCutchen.
With McCutchen out, the Pirates figure to use Starling Marte in center field. He is currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list, but he's on a rehab assignment and could be activated soon. Gregory Polanco and Travis Snider are the team's corner outfield options.