Analysis

Daniel McCutchen Returns to Pittsburgh With Sharper Pitches

Daniel McCutchen Returns to Pittsburgh With Sharper Pitches

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Right-hander Daniel McCutchen didn’t make the club out of spring training after posting a 9.82 Grapefruit League ERA. He started the season with Triple-A Indianapolis where he was sent with several things to work on.

“He went down there with a great mindset,” Manager Clint Hurdle said. “His velocity has picked up. His command has picked up. From the reports I’ve got, all the pitches have sharpened up. He’s in a very competitive place right now.”

The 29-year-old spent the 2011 season in Pittsburgh. Although he didn’t make the club out of camp, was recalled on April 9 before he made an appearance with Triple-A. During his first season being used exclusively in relief, he posted a 3.72 ERA over 84.2 innings, with a 5.0 K/9 and a 3.5 BB/9 ratio. His innings total ranked fourth-most among National League relievers.

McCutchen made 11 appearances with Indy this season, where he posted a 2.49 ERA over 21.2 innings, with a 5.8 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 ratio.

“I feel a lot better now then I did. I’ve been working on a lot of things, throwing a lot of innings. I feel good,” McCutchen said. “I’ve been throwing in to lefties a lot. Throwing a lot of strikes. Being aggressive in the strike zone.”

The right-hander was recalled on Thursday after the club placed closer Joel Hanrahan on the Bereavement List. Hanrahan is expected to return to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“I texted [lefty reliever Daniel] Moskos this morning and said, ‘I might see you in a few days, or it might be 10 years.’ Who knows,” McCutchen said. “I’ve seen enough moves and stuff to realize that things don’t always go as planned. I’m just going to come here and do what I can to help the team. We’ll see.”

McCutchen has not pitched since Tuesday, when he tossed a perfect inning in relief. He has not allowed an earned run over his last four games with Triple-A (9.1 innings).

“I flew out this morning,” McCutchen said. “I pitched an inning two days ago. I was off yesterday. I’m fresh. I’ve thrown as many as three innings. I’m good to go.”

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