PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen is very likely to be out the remainder of the 2023 season after it was revealed he was placed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday with a partial tear in his left Achilles tendon.
The 36-year-old veteran will be in a walking book for at least six weeks. With only 22 games remaining on the schedule, well, you can do the math.
It’s an unfortunate end to the latest chapter in McCutchen’s career, but the book isn’t closed just yet.
Not only did McCutchen express his desire to play in 2024, but he again expressed a desire for that to happen in Pittsburgh.
“I’ve vocalized that plenty of times about wanting to be here,” McCutchen said. “It’s not gonna feel right anywhere else. At the end of the day, I have to make the right decisions for myself, for my family. Whatever happens here, in the future, it’s indicative of that. I’m gonna rehab this, let this heal. Then when it’s time to get moving again, I get moving again. We’ll see where we go from there. ”
McCutchen was brought back by the Pirates this offseason on a one-year deal after spending time from 2018-22 with the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers.
He’ll again hit the open market this offseason as a free agent for the fourth time in his career.
Primarily serving as the club’s designated hitter, McCutchen has had a solid season at the plate. In 112 games, he’s hit .256 with a .378 on-base percentage, 19 doubles, 12 home runs, 43 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.
“For myself, personally, it was a decent year,” McCutchen said. “I had some expectations going into this season. I just wanted to be better than I was last year. I felt like last year wasn’t who I was as a player. I felt like I was better than that, and I believe I was able to showcase that on the field. The numbers did improve…
“It was a good year, a decent year for me. I just wanted to finish strong. I wanted to go into September and finish strong because my last couple months weren’t where I wanted them to be. They were below par. … I just wanted to finish strong in September and I had a good start in September. Just a little disappointing that I wasn’t able to finish the season how I wanted to finish.”
McCutchen’s impact on the Pirates goes beyond what’s on the back of his baseball card. He was one of a few veterans around a young team this season and became essentially the only veteran still in the clubhouse after the trade deadline.
“Just little words he would say after a game, whether it would be a tough loss or something like that,” Ke’Bryan Hayes said. “Just the little things he would say here and there. For me, he’s not crazy, vocal loud. That’s one thing I noticed. The little things that he says… he says them at the right times and things of that nature.”
The Pirates may be losing the on-field importance of McCutchen, but they won’t be losing the veteran presence who helps lead the team behind the scenes.
McCutchen intends to remain with the team through the end of the regular season, which is valuable in its own right.
“As much as they’ll let me be around, I want to be around,” McCutchen said. “We’ll see where we are with that, but I still want to be around the guys and try to support them in any way that I can. I know it can be tough. It’s a very young team and it just got a lot younger.
“I’m going to try and do my best to be around and be around the guys, be with them any way I can and go from there. It can be tough on a team losing a veteran player and losing someone they have respect for. I’m going to try and do what I can to be there for them and hoping that we can finish the season strong.”
If the Pirates do indeed bring McCutchen back into the fold next season, he’s confident in the young core in place moving forward.
“Of course, there’s things that we can improve on, but it’s a fun group of guys and it’s also a talented group of guys,” McCutchen said. “And it’s only going to get stronger because of what’s coming.”