Pirates' McCutchen named NL Player of the Month

| Monday, July 2, 2012, 5:52 p.m.

McCutchen named Player of Month

Andrew McCutchen was named the National League Player of the Month for June on Monday, becoming the first Pirates player to receive the honor since Jason Bay in May 2006.

McCutchen finished last month second in the league in RBI (26), second in batting average (.370), tied for third in home runs (seven), fourth in slugging percentage (.732) and sixth in on-base percentage (.420).

His 40 hits led the National League, his batting average was third best among qualifying major league players.

The All-Star center fielder was back in the starting lineup Monday night against the Houston Astros at PNC Park after missing Sunday's series finale in St. Louis with a sprained left wrist.

“I felt like I could have played Sunday, but precautions and all that,” McCutchen said. “They'd rather have me out for a day than have me out for a couple weeks, so I took the day off (Sunday), as bad as I didn't want to take one off.”

McCutchen said it was hard watching the Pirates lose by one run and miss the chance to sweep the Cardinals in St. Louis.

“I knew I could have been out there helping the team,” he said. “But it's about health, so I took the day off and I'm ready to go.”

• Pedro Alvarez did not start Monday's game because of lingering soreness from right leg cramps that forced him out of Sunday's game in the eighth inning. The Pirates' third baseman was on the field in the afternoon running in front of coach Jeff Banister and a member of the training staff. “He went out, did all his work, felt close, but might be in situation where one more day would put us in a better place,” manager Clint Hurdle said. Alvarez was available off the bench.

• Rod Barajas also was a late scratch from the starting lineup. Originally expected to start and take Tuesday off as he recovers from a bone bruise to his left knee suffered a week ago in Philadelphia, Barajas was replaced by Michael McKenry.

• Chris Resop and his teammates hosted 50 children from All of Us Care, a Volunteers of America Pennsylvania program, at Monday's game via the Buses for Baseball program.

• The Pirates signed 24th-round pick Tyler Gaffney, an outfielder out of Stanford who hit .245 with 10 doubles, one triple and two home runs, with 17 RBI and 48 runs scored.

— Karen Price

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