Andrew McCutchen Returns to the Pirates Lineup Tomorrow

Some good news if you were worried about Andrew McCutchen’s status: the MVP will return to the Pirates’ lineup tomorrow against the Orioles.

. @thecutch22 returns in tomorrow’s #Pirates lineup against the Orioles. Jung-ho Kang also playing second base.

A photo posted by Pirates Prospects (@piratesprospects) on

McCutchen last played on March 12th, and has been out since then with what was described as lower body soreness. He said that he would have been playing if it had been the regular season, but the Pirates are taking it easy with him in Spring Training. His inclusion in tomorrow’s lineup should ease any concerns that something is seriously wrong.

Also notable, Jung-ho Kang will return to the lineup tomorrow, after having a “work day” over the weekend. He will be starting at second base, which is the final position the Pirates wanted him to play this Spring. He started at shortstop, then moved to third base. Kang should be an option off the bench at all three positions this year.

  • Andrew McCutchen returns to the line up

    —- Sans Dreadlocks —–

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/55961/andrew-mccutchen-gets-first-haircut-in-eight-years

  • Sanchez as DH, Cervelli for Kang and we have our Opening Day Lineup 🙂

  • Will Sanchez
    March 23, 2015 3:21 pm

    Kang’s work day turned into a 4 day weekend..maybe the 6 ko in 7 ab did it . “We’re seeing a very dependable infielder,” manager Clint Hurdle said to MLB.com. “We’ve had him at third along with short. He turned a slick double play tonight. We’re going to have him at second base before we get to the weekend. We’ve seen some bat speed, seen the ability to leverage the ball. He just needs to get at-bats, but we like the player.” what a load of crap. Are we back to giving scholarships, he has not done anything to date to merit a spot . He should not be in the final 25 roster. He is a ball and chain, that’s drags this team.

    • Not sure what is a load of crap. I’m not sure how his bat translates to MLB pitching yet but I’m not ready to make a judgement based on some Spring Training at bats. Maybe he has trouble with higher velocities, maybe he doesn’t. I think it’s waaaaaayyy too early to call him a ball and chain.

      • pilbobuggins
        March 23, 2015 5:29 pm

        I would like to think it’s because kang is trying to hard to make a good impression, he just needs a little time to settle in. Once he becomes acclimated then he can be condemned or praised as the case may be.

        • Ghost of Derek Bell
          March 24, 2015 9:21 am

          Does Kang have minor league options? I don’t want us to have another Akinori Iwamura situation. I’m not saying Kang is as bad as that, but do you have him take up a major league roster spot while he’s ‘learning to adjust’ to major league pitching?

    • So you’d rather have Pedro Florimon? or who is your alternative to Kang? Do you want to bring John McDonald back? Not to get started about how a month of spring training has determined he is a ball and chain dragging this team… jeez…

    • You sure are quick with the criticism for baseball people who have proven they know a lot about more about player ability and performance than some person sitting behind a keyboard or holding a smart ( or dumb in some instances ) phone somewhere.

  • Definitely reason to be concerned with Morton. One thing I’m interested in is accurate readings on his velocity. His fastball was down considerably last year at 90.9 vs 92.5. I think part of the reason he looked better in 2013 is he that spike in velocity which made his fastball a nice pitch to couple with a strong curveball. Even in 2013 Morton was a well below average pitcher by cFIP.

    • Its no secret that I have never been a fan of Morton….I just never understood why the team, and some fans, have him in such high regard. He teases you here and there by looking great for 2-3 innings, and then blows up. He nibbles too much – just way too much finesse. Win or lose, I prefer pitches who attack hitters and go right after them. Morton seems to lack either the confidence or intestinal fortitude. We are kind of stuck with him now, because of his contract. I’d love to see Kingham, Sadler, or Sampson get his spot.

      • Morton looks pretty good a #3 or #4 when you look at FIP last 2 years. I am concerned about a potential loss of velocity on his fastball though. And cFIP isn’t nearly as high on Morton as FIP.

        • Hmmm…maybe a weak #4 or #5 – I hope he isn’t our third best starter…

          • On a contending team, I agree, Morton is back of the rotation. On an average or bad team, Morton is middle of the rotation.

          • You arent even pretending to be fair to Morton if he is a “weak” 4 or 5. Honestly, he is a fine 4th option for any team that isnt stacked with pitching. His stats last year werent worse, and likely better, than Vogelsong who was a mainstay in the WS winners rotation. Flawed as Morton is, he has value. Even injured he has value.

            • I don’t think he is a “fine #4”, whatever that means. I consider Worley be better than Morton. I just think we can, and need, to do much better than Morton….and hopefully, one of Kingham, Sampson, or Sadler will displace him this year. We are supposedly stacked with pitching, but this team seems to be very slow in promoting young players to Pittsburgh. Hopefully one of these guys forces the Pirates hand this Summer.

              • Fair enough to want better than decent, but Morton (when comparing to others in opposing rotations) is a perfectly normal option. Worley was better last year, but his FIP and xFIP werent massively better. Worley can be better, but again that still makes Morton a sub 4 ERA type that fits the team well, so you can see the reasoning.

        • Velo is concerning, though i do take ST stuff with some salt. Its just too tough to try to guess what the guy is working on, his whole pitch selection, one pitch, one situation, etc. Interesting to see how they start the year rotation wise.

      • You continually phrase the equation as you vs fans that hold him highly. I havent seen anyone hold him all that highly, just say that he isnt useless as you say. There is a middle ground between great and bad, and Morton lies in that area. Oft injured guy that can get shelled, can get shut down but mostly is in between for a 1-2 WAR finish. He works with what he has, GB stuff that he cant “go after guys” with and keeps down and induces weak contact. To each his own.

        • I disagree, but like you said, to each his own. I cringe whenever I know he is going to start. I’d rather deal with the ups and downs of an inexperienced pitcher (like Kingham), with potential, than spend another year with Morton.

          • Right, but Sampson could easily come up and be a similar type pitcher…in that he may rely on getting GBs and playing the corners to be outs. That would, following similar logic, annoy you. But, those guys have value. 1 WAR is 1 WAR however ya get it.

            • Nothing wrong with being a GB pitcher – and I never suggested there was. Morton is a nibbler – does not attack the strike zone – depends on movement to get guys to chase out of the zone. I’ve seen Sampson pitch – he is not a nibbler – he attacks the strike zone and isn’t afraid to brush someone back. I’m sorry, I don’t like Morton.

              • Not sure thats a fair assessment of how Morton pitches, because Morton generally actually wants guys to hit his stuff. He doesnt try for swing and miss stuff (apart from his CB) so anything down in the zone he wants to get contact on. If anything, the issue with Morton is he is an extreme “feel” pitcher. Meaning, when he has the feel of his sinker and his CB, he is deadly. It spins nasty and keeps everyone hitting it into the ground. When he is off, he has no feel for his stuff and the spin elevates and its hard hit as opposed to soft. Heck, if he nibbled more he’d likely get hit less but walk guys way more. Locke is the nibbler, a guy who has to hit each spot to be successful. Morton can miss, so long as its missing down and the spin still keeps the ball on the ground.

                Morton embodies what PIT loves, GB guy who throws inside and doesnt give up HRs. His health is really what keeps him from being a guaranteed 2 WAR pitcher since 2011.

      • blcartwright
        March 24, 2015 8:49 am

        Over the past 4 seasons Morton has average a 3.74 ERA, 3.76 FIP – 0.25 runs better than MLB average, better than average in every season. He’s average 21 GS, 25 if you throw out the 9 in 2012.

        You can reasonably expect 150 innings of better than average ERA. That’s not junk.

    • A very telling set of graphs for Charlie:

      http://www.brooksbaseball.net/outcome.php?player=450203&b_hand=-1&gFilt=&pFilt=FA|SI|FC|CU|SL|CS|KN|CH|FS|SB&time=year&minmax=ci&var=baa&s_type=2&startDate=03/30/2007&endDate=03/23/2015

      Starting in 2011 Charlie began throwing a split finger change up and ditched his circle / straight change up – with not much success.

      In 2014, his best pitch was his curve ball (batters hit .126 against it) followed by his four seam fastball (batters hit .177 against it).

      His achilles is his split finger change.

      http://www.brooksbaseball.net/velo.php?player=450203&b_hand=-1&gFilt=&pFilt=FA|SI|FC|CU|SL|CS|KN|CH|FS|SB&time=year&startDate=03/30/2007&endDate=03/23/2015&s_type=2

      Average velocity on it was about 85 MPH last year (four seam fastball averaged 92.6 MPH).

      The key to throwing a split change is speed separation. The split change doesn’t move a whole lot and so you as a pitcher are hoping the batter mistimes his swing – the spin on a split change looks like a fast ball coming in.

      A split change works great if you throw 95-100 MPH and then are able to throw it 80-85 MPH. Charlie isn’t getting enough speed separation with it (7 MPH off his four seam). You really hope for 10-15 MPH speed difference.

      And the numbers bear it out last year. Batters hit .375 AVE, .656 SLUG against it last year (2014).

  • That is good news…..glad to hear that.

    Kind of balances out my angst of having another year and another starting rotation that includes Charlie Morton!!!

    • pilbobuggins
      March 23, 2015 1:32 pm

      Was at the game yesterday and morton looked more like mortimer snerd than ground chuck, hopefully it’s just rust but if not the pirates have a few more options which is something they were a bit thin on last year.

      • You have my sympathies for having to watch Morton pitch…I had to bear that here in Baltimore last year….he is just maddening to watch pitch IMHO.

        • pilbobuggins
          March 23, 2015 5:33 pm

          Yeah, sometimes you just have to scratch your head and do something else for awhile to spare yourself the frustration.

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