Pirates notebook: McCutchen named finalist for Hutch Award
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is among 10 major leaguers nominated for the 49th annual Hutch Award.
The award honors a player who demonstrates courage, dedication and honor in the face of adversity in his personal and/or professional life. The winner will be announced Jan. 30 in Seattle during a fundraiser for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Other nominees are Jeremy Affeldt, Craig Breslow, Neal Cotts, John Danks, Sean Doolittle, Alex Gordon, Raul Ibanez, Scott Kazmir and Jason Motte.
Three former Pirates have won the award: Willie Stargell (1978), Don Robinson (‘84) and Sid Bream in (‘90).
Rookie League team added
The Pirates announced Wednesday the addition of the Bristol, Va., Rookie Level franchise as a ninth minor league affiliate for the 2014 season.
The Pirates are returning to the short-season Appalachian League for the first time since the Princeton Pirates were the club's affiliate in 1989.
The Appalachian League begins play in late June and is often where draft picks debut, prep prospects in particular.
Pirates director of minor league operations Larry Broadway addressed the need for another minor league team.
“As we continue to invest in the draft and Latin America, the addition of an advanced Rookie League team provides us another opportunity to maximize the development time of every player who enters into our system,” Broadway said in a release.
The Pirates' Bristol minor league team will be one of five teams in the Appalachian League's West Division, joining Kingsport (New York Mets), Greeneville (Houston), Elizabethton (Minnesota) and Johnson City (St. Louis).
Rob Biertempfel and Travis Sawchik are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Biertempfel at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib, and reach Sawchik at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.