Hurdle announces McCutchen will bat third this year
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle announced on Saturday that Andrew McCutchen will bat third this season with Jose Tabata leading off.
Saturday’s lineup against the Yankees is close to what you will expect to see this season.
Neil Walker will bat second, Lyle Overbay will bat in cleanup with Pedro Alvarez batting fifth. Matt Diaz/Garrett Jones (depending on righty/lefty pitcher) will bat sixth and Ronny Cedeno hitting seventh. The catcher batting eight with the pitcher hitting ninth.
Many expected Alvarez to bat fourth this year, but Manager Clint Hurdle explained his reasoning. Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I think right now it just sets us up best. Pedro has a lot on his plate right now, and I think Overbay — at least with the spring he’s had — his confidence is good. We’ll start that way and see where it takes us.”
Expect Alvarez to be bumped up eventually. In just his first full season, batting him fifth takes a lot of pressure off of him.
What may shock most fans is that McCutchen, who swiped 33 bags last year, will be batting third, not leadoff.
McCutchen says his approach at the plate will be no different where in the lineup he bats.
McCutchen told Langosch of MLB.com, “It’s not like I’m an Albert Pujols that was a leadoff guy. That would be a big deal. I’m a guy that can do a lot. I can bring a lot to the plate. I can hit first. I can hit third. It’s not really a big deal.
“The sky is the limit from here. Run production should go up, and hopefully everything else will be able to go up as well. It really doesn’t matter where I’m hitting at. I’m going to be comfortable hitting there.”
Tabata is looking forward to leading off for the Bucs this year.
Tabata told Langosch of MLB.com, “I love it,” Tabata said of the opportunity to lead off. “I can walk. I can score more runs. I can steal more bases. I can do more things.”
*Photo credit: Pittsburgh-Post Gazette