Pirates’ McCutchen Primed For Bounce Back Season

Squaring The Ball Up, Adjusting To Right Field, Stealing More Bases All At The Forefront For Cutch

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- It couldn’t have been the kind of 2016 season Andrew McCutchen envisioned heading into last year.

Then, the Pirates right fielder (oddly enough to see) had quite the winter and through trade rumors and position changes, McCutchen is still here and still very happy to be a Pittsburgh Pirate. He joined “The Fan Morning Show” on Friday and said none of the remarks he made in “The Players’ Tribune” article that was published a few weeks ago was made up.

“Man, its a blessing,” said McCutchen. “It’s awesome to be where I am. Yeah, none of that is fake. The city means a lot to me. There’s so much history and there’s so many things I’ve done and that we’ve done as a team to be the team that lost 100 games to be a team that almost wins a 100 games. How can you draw that up? You can’t write that up any better.”

He says that while he trusts himself, playing right field has certainly been an adjustment from playing center.

“Being in the corner is a little different just because it’s more of a reaction as opposed to knowing what’s coming before it happens,” said McCutchen. “Centerfield you’ve got that great view to where you can kind of anticipate where the ball is going to be hit. Right field is just more of a reaction off the bat. It’s not that big of an adjustment, you’ve just got to go out there and do it every day.”

McCutchen reiterated the fact the move to right field wasn’t something he was very fond of.

“That was not my call, playing in right field that was something I disagreed with but, you know, at the end of the day sometimes you have to agree to disagree and you just move on. If it’s for the betterment of the team, you’ve just got to accept that,” he said.

As far as what he will do at the plate this season, McCutchen says he has tinkered some things with his swing, but isn’t about to give his patterns away.

“One thing a hitter never does is he never reveals his secrets, so I don’t talk too in-depth about what I did and all this and that in this off-season, all I’m trying to do is square the ball up,” said McCutchen. “That’s the key as a hitter. All I’m trying to do is get a good pitch to hit, when I get it, I hit it, I square it up. From there, there’s nothing else that you can control so there’s a lot that goes on with that. I did all of that this off-season and just slowly it’s translating over in these games that we are playing.”

McCutchen also chose not to attempt to steal bases last season, but says we will see him run more this year.

“I can run more,” said McCutchen. “I shut myself down last year just because of the fact that there were some things that I had to battle and that just wasn’t at the top of the totem pole for me, trying to get to that next bag. I was just trying to stay healthy and keep playing. But, this year that’s definitely what I’m trying to do, I’m just trying to go out and get to that next bag and I’ll be able to do that. I got myself back to where I need to be, so when I’m on base just be looking forward to me going for that next base.”

McCutchen also said that he and his teammates will embrace Jung Ho Kang when he shows up to Pirates camp in the coming days and will show him support despite his mistakes.

“We’re grown men and we know what to do. Just gotta love on him and that’s what we’re going to do,” said McCutchen. “Not everyone’s perfect, it’s just that fact that he’s had to overcome some things, he’s gone through some things, but that happens to some people. We understand his situation and the best thing that we can do is support him, be there for him because he’s a guy that can help us in a lot of ways. As long as he knows that we have his back, I’m sure he’ll be alright.”

You can hear the entire interview with Andrew McCutchen from “The Fan Morning Show” below.

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