Andrew McCutchen sits in the dugout as the Pirates take on the Marlins at PNC Park last week.
By Jenn Menendez / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Pirates placed outfielder Andrew McCutchen on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 4, with the rib cartilage fracture that has kept him out of the lineup for a week.
The Pirates were weighing whether or not to place him on the DL because he had improved fairly rapidly and is such a critical piece to their playoff push.
“I mean, it’s what’s best for us all,” McCutchen said. “Will give me a few extra days to try and heal, fully heal, and come back and keep trying to improve and get my body on the field.”
Now McCutchen will not be available to return until at least Aug. 19, meaning he will miss, at minimum, a home-and-home series (four games) against the Detroit Tigers, three games against the Washington Nationals, and a portion of a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves series.
“It [stinks] because you never want to go on the DL. … That’s never the plan,” he said. “But the thing is, the injury is so uncommon, that in a sense it makes me feel OK about it because at least I know I’m pretty much, one of the only ones that can do something that I did. I hold my head high for that.
“I’m on the DL right now, but good things are to come.”
General manager Neal Huntington called McCutchen’s progress Sunday “remarkable” and said the next challenge is to get him back to playing fearless in the outfield at 100 percent.
“He’s getting after it,” Huntington said. “Is he game-ready? No. But the next step will be to determine how quickly he can be game-ready.”
McCutchen suffered an avulsion fracture of the costochondral cartilage of the 11th rib, which Huntington referred to as a torque-based injury.
“He’s been completely honest with us. We’ve ramped up some things, slowed down some things based on how he’s feeling,” Huntington said. “This is one, a little bit like a hamstring injury, you play to tolerance. But there is the threat of regression, there is the threat of re-injury, and that’s a part of our thought process as we try to intelligently progress him, so that we don’t re-aggravate it or worse.”
To take McCutchen’s place on the active roster, right-hander Casey Sadler was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis.
Manager Clint Hurdle said before the roster move that McCutchen’s ability to assess his body and share his analysis has been a major help.
“Andrew is one of the most honest self-evaluators I’ve ever met,” Hurdle said. “In all actuality, it makes the decision more clear.”
Jenn Menendez email@example.com and Twitter @JennMenendez.
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