PITTSBURGH – Andrew McCutchen is on the verge of a very significant career milestone.
However, the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder/designated hitter is going to let his 2,000th career hit come to him rather than chase it.
McCutchen sits at 1,997 hits and hit the game-winning sacrifice fly in the eighth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past the Oakland Athletics 5-4 at PNC Park. He also walked three times and was not tempted to expand his strike zone to try to get to 2,000 quicker.
“It’s inevitable I’m going to get it. At some point I will,” McCutchen said. “So, I’m not stressing about it at all. I’m not trying to overdo it or do too much or start chasing just because I’m trying to get three more hits. I’m just trying to stay within myself, understand the situation and put together good at-bats. If I don’t get a pitch to hit, I’ll take my walk. Nothing changes in my approach.”
McCutchen is hitting .271/.373/.442 in 52 games with eight home runs and seven stolen bases in his return to the Pirates. The 36-year-old signed a one-year, $5-million contract five years after being traded to the San Francisco Giants.
McCutchen’s return has coincided with the Pirates becoming relevant again. They led the National League Central by 0.5 game over the Milwaukee Brewers after finishing last in the division for four straight seasons.
However, McCutchen isn’t scoreboard watching with nearly four months left in the season, even though the Pirates are on a six-game winning streak.
“We’re in a good spot, but I’m not too focused with where we are in the standings,” McCutchen said. “It’s literally June. We have to just keep taking care of business, showing up, winning the games we know we should win. If we do that, we’ll probably be in a really good spot at the end, but we still have a lot of games to play.
“We had a good April, we didn’t have a good May. We’ve started pretty good off in June, so we just need to continue to take it day by day. Yeah, I’m not too focused with where we are in the standings.”