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Pirates notebook: McCutchen collects volunteer award

Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen talks to the media Thursday at the Clemente Museum prior to an event for Habitat for Humanity, which honored McCutchen with an award.

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 8:33 p.m.

Andrew McCutchen's postseason awards parade will end next week with him likely winning National League MVP.

On Thursday, McCutchen picked up his first MVV.

“He's our Most Valuable Volunteer,” said Maggie Withrow, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.

McCutchen is in his second year as a Habitat for Humanity spokesman. He was honored during a fundraiser at the Roberto Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville.

“Being a part of Habitat for Humanity definitely means a lot to me,” McCutchen said. “I'm grateful to come here and try to make a big difference.”

During a recent home dedication in McKeesport. McCutchen led the group in a prayer. He also shows up to help when the houses are being built — but, mindful of keeping McCutchen injury free, supervisors usually assign him broom duty.

“We won't let him swing a hammer,” Withrow said with a laugh. “It frustrates him sometimes, but he understands.”

McCutchen batted .317 with 21 homers and had a .911 on-base plus slugging percentage this past season.

The league MVP award winner will be revealed Thursday night. The three finalists are McCutchen, Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks and Yadier Molina of the Cardinals.

“I'm grateful just to be in the running for it,” McCutchen said. “Molina and Goldschmidt had great seasons, as well. I'm just happy to be a part of it, and we'll see where it goes from there. I did my best to put myself in that position. Whoever wins will definitely deserve it.”

Benedict stays put

Special assistant Jim Benedict withdrew from consideration for the Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach job and will remain with the Pirates. Benedict interviewed with the Phillies on Oct. 21.

Benedict was hired in 2008 as a special assistant to general manager Neal Huntington. Benedict became the club's minor league pitching instructor in 2010-11, then returned to his special assistant role.

Kudos for McKechnie

After undergoing $10 million worth of improvements in the past year, McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., was chosen for best ballpark renovation by Ballpark Digest. McKechnie Field is the Pirates' home field during spring training and hosts the High-A Bradenton Marauders.

Martin feted for defense

Catcher Russell Martin was named the Pirates team recipient of the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award. The overall NL winner is Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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