Pirates notebook: McCutchen widens scope of recognition with ESPN spot
PHILADELPHIA — If Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen did not become a household name after winning NL MVP honors last season, perhaps he will ensure such status by appearing on an ESPN commercial for the cable network's flagship program “SportsCenter.”
The Tribune-Review obtained an advance copy of the commercial that features McCutchen and a number of Pirate-themed mascots, including the East Carolina, St. John's and Pirate Parrot mascots. The mascots, at McCutchen's orders, storm a meeting room at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters.
McCutchen was at the ESPN campus to accommodate several interview requests this offseason when the commercial was filmed.
“They had an idea and I went and did it,” McCutchen said. “I had nothing to do with (the script). That's not my forte. I let them handle all that. I just showed up.”
Former Pirates MVPs Barry Bonds and Dick Groat will present McCutchen with the 2013 NL MVP award Monday at PNC Park.
How important is pitching depth? Consider the Pirates entered last September with 80 percent of their Opening Day rotation no longer in the rotation.
Every club knows entering a season it will almost certainly require more than five starting pitchers to get through a 162-game schedule. This spring, Pirates Opening Day starter Francisco Liriano has dealt with groin discomfort, Jeff Locke suffered a muscle strain, and top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon has elbow discomfort. Wandy Rodriguez has not made a major league start since he left a game with pain in his left elbow last June.
Part of the reason the Pirates elected to keep pitchers like Jeanmar Gomez and Stolmy Pimentel over Vin Mazzaro when the club made its final roster cuts on Saturday was because Gomez and Pimentel have the versatility to be used in the rotation or bullpen.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he likes his club's pitching depth entering the season.
“We have different options now,” Hurdle said. “We have Jeanmar (Gomez). We have Stolmy (Pimentel). We've also got (Brandon) Cumpton and we've also got (Jeff) Locke coming. We have plenty of options.”
The Pirates benefitted from Liriano, Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole all joining the rotation after the beginning of May last season.
Both Baseball Prospectus and ESPN are predicting significant regression for the Pirates in 2014. Baseball Prospectus has the Pirates finishing 79-83, and gives the Pirates a 21.5 percent chance of making the playoffs. ESPN has the Pirates finishing 80-82. The projections mark a double-digit decline from the Pirates' 94-win regular season in 2013.
He said it
“We look at ourselves as still chasing,” Hurdle said Saturday in Philadelphia. “We don't care about what other people are thinking or how they are looking at us. We are still looking to chase. Only one team gets a trophy. It wasn't us. There's only two league champions. It wasn't us.”
Pedro Alvarez is expected to be in the Opening Day lineup despite being held out in the final stretch of exhibition games … Starling Marte struck out 10 times and did not walk in 55 spring training plate appearances.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster
- Pirates sign independent league pitcher
- Rossi: Baseball should retire Roberto Clemente’s No. 21
- Pirates, Happ interested in coming to terms on deal
- Pirates, Orioles had trade talks involving 2B Walker