Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

McCutchen Back in Lineup, Much to the Relief of Fans

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

McCutchen Back in Lineup, Much to the Relief of Fans

Article excerpt

PIRATES: Star outfielder had been sidelined for nearly two weeks

BRADENTON -- The name was written in the same color, size and font as the other right-handed hitters listed on the lineup card located on a billboard Tuesday in the Pittsburgh Pirates' home clubhouse.

But for a certain blue-collar city located more than 1,000 miles away from McKechnie Field, it was probably a sight that solicited enough sighs of relief to fill PNC Park:

McCutchen, CF

Andrew McCutchen, the heart of the Pirates' renaissance and widely considered among a handful as the best player in baseball, played in his first game in nearly two weeks Tuesday, logging two at- bats in four innings during a 9-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in front of a crowd of 6,186.

Out with what the Pirates classified as a lower-body injury since March 12, McCutchen flied to right and struck out against Orioles starter Ubaldo Jiminez. The former Gold Glove winner was put to the test immediately on the other side of the ball during the top of the first, when a shallow fly off the bat of Delmon Young forced McCutchen, playing medium depth in center field, to sprint in and make the catch.

"It was better than sitting around, watching -- that's for sure," said McCutchen, who made his first-ever trip to the disabled list last August with a rib injury. "I've already done that once last season. It's not too fun. It was good to get back out there."

Though his knee was wrapped in a thick bandage following his removal Tuesday, McCutchen remained vague on the nature of his injury. He did say that if something similar occurred during the regular season, his return to the lineup would have come much quicker.

"When they need me out there, I'm out there. I came back with a broken rib. I don't think this is an issue," he said. "But it's spring training. I don't want to strain anything or make anything worse right now. It's OK to make it worse when it counts."

Few mean more to their team than McCutchen, fresh off three consecutive top-three finishes in the balloting for MVP. …

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