BRADENTON — The 2011 season was like a tale of two season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. After being at the top of the National League Central for the first four months of the season, the team struggled for the final two months.
However, learning from those struggles can ultimately make the players a better ball club.
All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen said the 2011 season was a great learning experience, and he used the offseason to make sure he doesn’t tire out in the second half moving forward.
“It definitely helps you out because you learn from your ups, you learn from your downs,” McCutchen said. “When you’re able to put those together, you make something out of it. It was a good learning period for us. Hopefully we’re able to learn from our mistakes, go into this year and have a second half like we had the first half.”
McCutchen, who finished the 2011 season with .259 avg, 87 runs, 34 doubles, 23 homers, 89 RBI and 23 stolen bases, focused on getting stronger this offseason while training at IMG in Bradenton, Fla.
“Considering the season that we had last year, we got kind of tired in the second half, I really trained myself to try and keep in shape for the second half,” McCutchen said. “I worked real hard. I gave everything I could this offseason to get better for this year.”
McCutchen said he contributes getting into better shape by focusing on his legs and core.
“Getting stronger, every aspect,” he said of his offseason workouts. “Getting in shape, getting my legs in shape, getting them strong, just using my core. I worked on it a lot more than I usually use do. I know all that’s going to carry me throughout the season. I’m just really looking forward to this season starting.”
The season doesn’t start until April 5, but McCutchen has several goals set for what he wants to accomplish during spring training.
“Just getting right, just getting my eyes back to seeing velocity. Just trying to get myself as ready as possible for the season. Spring Training is short, you want to be ready, on top of your game from the first game on.”