While it sounds like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Andrew McCutchen are fortunate that the apparent knee injury he suffered Friday night in Toronto is not too serious, he’ll most likely miss at least a game or two. But what are the team’s options if the injury is more serious than initially reported?
A scary scene for the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans played out Friday night in Toronto when Andrew McCutchen was forced to leave the game in the third inning with an apparent knee injury after knocking a RBI double to right center field. McCutchen is not in the lineup for Saturday, so until the team releases more information, it is hard to gauge if they believe he just needs a day off or if he’ll sit a few games and rest his knee.
Andrew McCutchen isn't starting today. Marte CF, Frazier 2B, Harrison 3B, Bell 1B, Freese DH, Polanco RF, Mercer SS, Jaso LF, Cervelli C
— Adam Berry (@adamdberry) August 12, 2017
The Pirates have been no strangers when it comes to replacing outfielders this year, as both Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco have missed time this year. If McCutchen is going to be rested for the remaining games in Toronto, it would make sense to have Adam Frazier start when the opposing pitcher is right handed and Jose Osuna when a southpaw is on the mound. However, Clint Hurdle has given John Jaso a number of starts in right field this season, so there is a good chance that he could be considered for the available innings.
However, if it turns out that McCutchen’s injury is more severe, or he would hurt his knee again in the near future, the team might need to explore options outside of the organization. The New York Mets have already traded Jay Bruce, so they appear to be selling even after the trade deadline. Curtis Granderson should be available and could fill in for the time being. The issue here is that he would have to be put on waivers and not be claimed by another team in order for a deal to be worked out between the Pirates and Mets. This is pure speculation at this point, as the two teams have not been connected regarding the lefty veteran outfielder.
Given that McCutchen did not seem to be too concerned about the injury, it really does seem like he will most likely just miss today’s game and perhaps Sunday’s contest. It was a scary moment for sure, as McCutchen has had a remarkable season after a small decline in 2016. A loss of McCutchen for a long stretch would severely impact the team’s hope of leap frogging the other teams in the NL Central division.
This will be something that management and fans alike will be keeping a close eye on over the weekend. Fortunately for the Pirates, they do have some options internally that can fill in for a game or two. In Frazier and Osuna, the team has two hitters that profile very differently and give them a left handed and right handed option in the outfield. Plus, there is always Jaso, who Hurdle has played probably more often than he should in the outfield.
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