Pirates notebook: McCutchen feels better, returns to lineup

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More than 48 hours after he was hunched over in the heat and had to leave an afternoon game Thursday in St. Louis, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was back in the lineup Saturday against Cincinnati at PNC Park, batting third.

"I won't say I'm 100 [percent], but good enough to play, good enough to be out there on the field," he said.

He called his ailment a "real bad stomach virus. I guess it had been going around."

McCutchen was treated with fluids while missing part of the game Thursday as well as a 6-1 loss Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds

"[Thursday], it was just more kind of seeing what I could do," he said. "I didn't know how sick I was until I actually went out there on the field and started playing. I was pretty dehydrated.

"It's always tough, regardless of whether you're sick or hurt or whatever. You want to be out there helping the team, but you've got to do what comes first -- you've got to take care of your health first. If it means sitting a game or two, you'd rather do that than do something that could hurt you for the future."

About drawing fans ...

Friday night featured fine weather, and the Pirates were home for the first time since April 26. The crowd was an underwhelming 20,445, not the kind of throng drawn in by a fireworks night such as Saturday.

Do the Pirates ever feel like a warm-up act to pyrotechnics?

"Our fans have been pretty loyal to us," closer Joel Hanrahan said. "Everywhere you go, fireworks night is always going to be a big night. It's a little more family entertainment with the fireworks. We've got to play a little better baseball, and they'll be coming out again [regardless of any fireworks]."

Manager Clint Hurdle agreed that it's not a knock on the fans.

"No, I love the fan support," he said. "All you had to do was be here last June, July to talk about fan support. You give them a good product, they're going to show up.

"There are [other] things going on. The fans here are blue-collar, no-nonsense, Friday night. ... I don't count people. We win baseball games, people will come. You need to find a way to stimulate fans, to make it a fan-friendly environment. I get all that. But the best fan-friendly environment is a good baseball team. That's my focus."

Happy holiday, Pedro

Hurdle, having a laugh with reporters before the game Saturday night, offered a tongue-in-cheek reason for moving third baseman Pedro Alvarez up to the cleanup spot in the batting order.

"Cinco de Mayo," Hurdle said, referring to the holiday.

Traffic update

Although many parts of the Golden Triangle will be inaccessible into the afternoon today because of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Pirates fans should be able to get the 1:35 p.m. series finale against Cincinnati. There could be some overlap with marathon runners and watchers leaving the area, but streets and parking lots around PNC Park will be open as usual, including the route from the Fort Duquesne Bridge to the North Shore.

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