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Pirates' McCutchen could be headed to disabled list

| Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, 8:27 p.m.
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The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen holds his side as he walks off the field during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in Phoenix.

Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen has been diagnosed with a strained left oblique, sources told the Tribune-Review on Monday, and the injury increases the likelihood the defending National League MVP will be placed on the disabled list.

McCutchen was injured in the eighth inning of the Pirates' game Sunday in Arizona. He clutched his lower left side, near where the oblique muscle is located.

The injury occurred while McCutchen was running down the first base line after he hit a sacrifice fly. McCutchen was helped back to the dugout and immediately went to the clubhouse.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington declined to address McCutchen's status Monday, an off day for the team. Huntington said the club will have an update Tuesday when the team opens an eight-game homestand.

McCutchen was examined in Pittsburgh and remained on the active roster Monday, and his injury was described as “left side discomfort” by a Pirates spokesperson. An oblique injury often sidelines a player for weeks.

Pirates second baseman Neil Walker missed two weeks in 2013 with a similar injury.

“I really don't know what happened,” McCutchen said after the game. “It was cramping. I've never had any problems in that area before.”

If McCutchen is placed on the disabled list, he could be replaced by outfielder Starling Marte, who is eligible to return after being sidelined by a concussion. Marte is on a four-game injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis. Marte, the Pirates' regular left fielder, started in center field Monday after starting the previous two games at his customary position.

Since his first full major league season in 2010, McCutchen has played at least 154 games a season. He averaged 156.5 games the previous four seasons and has played in 109 of 111 games this year.

McCutchen was back in the starting lineup Sunday, one day after being drilled by a 95 mph fastball. The four-time All-Star is batting .311 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs.

Travis Sawchik and Rob Biertempfel are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Sawchik can be reached at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib. Biertempfel can be reached at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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