GM Neal Huntington wasn’t yet ready to confirm whether or not McCutchen will be playing center or left (Nyjer Morgan’s outstanding defense has to have him in consideration for that centerfield spot), but we’ll find out tomorrow. My guess is that McCutchen will land in center. He is the guy and has been groomed as a centerfielder. I really can’t see him being anywhere else. And it’s not like Morgan doesn’t have plenty of ground to cover in the spacious PNC Park left field.
From those I’ve talked to in Indy who have seen McCutchen play this season, it sure sounds like he’s ready. Huntington said there is still work to be done on McCutchen’s bunting and in the stolen base area, but his defense in Triple-A has been stellar and he’s improved his discipline at the plate.
Is he going to replace McLouth’s production right away? Nope, so don’t expect him to. He’s not going to put up the same power numbers, but eventually, McCutchen will be an impact bat. I’m also interested to see where he ends up in the Pirates’ order. Batting second behind Morgan would seem to make sense. Manager John Russell could then drop the hot-hitting Freddy Sanchez to the third hole. That’d be quite the speedy duo with Morgan and McCutchen up top.
McCutchen was hitting .303 with 10 doubles, eight triples, four homers, 20 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and 41 runs scored. So Pittsburgh…. the kid you have all been waiting for is here. And don’t worry, I join you in your enthusiasm to see him take the field on Thursday.
McCutchen will be added to the Pirates’ 40-man roster on Thursday. To make room, Pittsburgh will move Craig Hansen from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL