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Pirates notebook: McCutchen leads outfielders in NL All-Star voting

| Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 7:33 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen stretches with Pirate Parrot before a game against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, at PNC Park.

With All-Star Game fan voting in its final week, Andrew McCutchen has surged ahead of the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig to move into first place among National League outfielders.

As of Tuesday's final balloting update — teams will be revealed Sunday — McCutchen had 3,173,810 votes.

The Brewers' Carlos Gomez is second among outfielders with 3,169,748 votes. Puig is third (3,001,907).

This would be McCutchen's fourth All-Star Game appearance and his first fan-voted start.

“It's neat. I've never been a part of that or had the opportunity to start,” said McCutchen, who also would become the seventh player in Pirates history to earn a fan selection. “We'll see what happens when the voting's over with and where I end up.”

Online voting at mlb.com closes 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

The selection show airs 7 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.

Alvarez's progress

Pedro Alvarez batted .299 in June, up from .255 in May and a marked increase from the first month of the season, when he batted .172.

Alvarez had five doubles, three home runs (his fewest of any month this season) and 14 RBIs for the third consecutive month.

The uptick in certain statistical categories hasn't been enough to impress manager Clint Hurdle.

“We need more consistency,” Hurdle said. “He's done more than this. We can cherry-pick numbers and get good and get bad, but looking at the whole context of it, the consistency is what he's looking for, and we're looking for it with him. The ability to square up balls, drive in runs, score runs, be a more consistent run producer.”

Rock of glove?

Poison lead singer Bret Michaels was at PNC Park on Tuesday and took early batting practice with McCutchen, who said Michaels did better than another big name who took the field recently.

“We were able to toss the ball around a little bit, watched him take batting practice, and I told him his BP was better than (Ben) Roethlisberger's,” McCutchen said. “I'm sure he got a laugh out of that, and I'm sure Roethlisberger probably won't take that too lightly.

“He'll give me a call or something. But he looked pretty good out there.”

Michaels will be honored in his hometown of Butler on Wednesday and perform at the Big Butler Fair.

Extra bases

Francisco Liriano is scheduled to throw one inning with a screen and three innings of a simulated game Wednesday. … Gregory Polanco had a scheduled day off Tuesday. … Catcher Russell Martin was in the starting lineup for the first time since Friday.

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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