Pregame: McCutchen rejoins team

Grilled marlin is not on the menu tonight, but this is hanging over the media food room at Sun Life Stadium.
Grilled marlin is not on the menu tonight, but this is hanging over the media food room at Sun Life Stadium.

MIAMI — Andrew McCutchen is back in uniform and will play tonight against the Marlins. Wednesday, McCutchen went home to be with his father, Lorenzo, who is hospitalized.

“I had to go check up on him and my family,” McCutchen said. “It was good to see him. He’s fine now, my family’ fine. But I had to take that day off to make sure everything is OK.”

McCutchen first heard about his father on Tuesday.

“It’s been on my mind a little bit,” McCutchen said. “I’ve been thinking about him. I thought it would be better for me to see him physically to make him feel a little better, and I was able to do that.”

Once it was clear everything was OK, the elder McCutchen urged his son to get back to work.

“He kicked me out, basically,” McCutchen said, grinning. “He was excited to see me. When my mom asked if I’d be there for a while, my dad looked and shook his head and told me, ‘Leave.’ It’s good to be back.”

Manager Clint Hurdle did not hesitate to put McCutchen back into the lineup in his usual leadoff spot.

“It’s good to have him back and he’s back for good reasons,” Hurdle said.

The Pirates have lost 6-0 the past two nights. McCutchen listened to last night’s game on the radio as he drove back to Miami.

“Man, I wanted to be there,” McCutchen said. “I said, if they tie this up, I hope I can get there on time (to play). I wanted to get back.”

I and other Pirates writers got a lot of emails and other messages from Pirates fans who wanted to wish McCutchen well. McCutchen also was contacted by former teammates who expressed support..

“It makes you feel good to know there are people out there who care,” McCutchen said.

»»» Hurdle held a closed-door meeting in his office with many of the position players. One topic was the disturbingly high number of strikeouts — 21 over the past two games, a total of 180 this season. Hurdle demanded the hitters make better in-game adjustments and, if necessary, change their two-strike approach.

»»» The Pirates are the only team in the majors that hasn’t hit a triple.

»»» Top prospect Jameson Taillon is in extended spring training, and soon will ship out to Low-A West Virginia for his highly anticipated pro debut. “We are still working through plans on when we would like to get him out of extended,” farm director Kyle Stark said today via email. The Pirates kept Taillon and fellow right-hander Stetson Allie in Bradenton, Fla., in order to better control their pitch counts this year.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates (7-9) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata cf, 3. Lyle Overbay 1b, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Garrett Jones rf, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Chris Snyder c, 8. Josh Rodriguez ss, 9. James McDonald rhp (0-1, 7.47)

Marlins (9-6) – 1. Emilio Bonifacio lf, 2. Omar Infante 2b, 3. Hanley Ramirez ss, 4. Gabe Sanchez, 5. Greg Dobbs lf, 6. Mark Stanton rf, 7. Scott Cousins cf, 8. Brett Hayes c, 9. Chris Volstad rhp (0-1, 5.59)