PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison returned to Pittsburgh Pirates camp following the team USA championship at the World Baseball Classic. McCutchen had so much fun he nearly lost his voice.
“You can go ahead and say like the playoffs, but I think a little more extreme,” Harrison said of the WBC intensity, noting the difference in the stands. “I don’t think there are too many cowbells, tambourines and trumpets.”
“It was amazing just to play against the different cultures and teams,” McCutchen said. “The atmosphere was great. The fans were loud. It was a lot of fun.”
McCutchen added that the WBC will help the game grow as “baseball speaks one language”.
It was also the first chance for these Pirates to be managed by Jim Leyland.
“I like Jim a lot, old school guy,” Harrison said. “I think our team drew to him. He wasn’t a guy to give a rah-rah speech, just go play. If you can’t find motivation from within, you’re in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing.”
“It was awesome,” McCutchen said. “I know his history with the Pirates. It was awesome to be managed by him. He’s a great manager and let me just go out there and do my thing. All he wanted to do was win the game.”
When asked about his favorite moment, it wasn’t something he did, rather it was the Oriole who played center for the U.S.
“Coolest thing I’ve ever seen in person on the field,” McCutchen said of Adam Jones’ catch against Baltimore teammate Manny Machado of the Dominican Republic. “I’ve always had dreams of robbing somebody. It’s a little bit harder in Pittsburgh ‘cause the walls are like 10 and a half feet high and it will be a lot harder in right field.”
Machado and Jones weren’t the only MLB teammate connection between the USA and Dominican Republic. Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte played for the DR as McCutchen said you want them to do well, but you also want to win.
“The whole starting outfield is starting in the WBC and that is the outfield of the Pirates,” McCutchen added. “That didn’t happen anywhere else in baseball. That was pretty cool. I was excited about that. You get a sense of pride just to see us all out there and performing and doing well.”
Former NL MVP, McCutchen played a lot and said the high level of competition has him well prepared for the season, noting he even got most of his work in right field.
Harrison didn’t play as much, but said he learned a lot from the guys and will supplement with the final week of Spring workouts.
“I’m happy to be back with these guys and getting us prepared to get ready for the season,” McCutchen said. “I look forward to us being out there, the outfield being together and playing some good baseball.”