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Hurdle blasts McCutchen snub

| Monday, July 4, 2011

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle ripped into anyone associated with the All-Star voting process today for leaving center fielder Andrew McCutchen off the National League roster.

"I think everybody whiffed on this one," he told reporters during an animated pre-game media session in his office at PNC Park.

Hurdle said McCutchen was snubbed by Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who had nine discretionary picks; the National League players, who voted for 16 spots, including three outfielders; and MLB's commissioner's office, which left McCutchen off the five-man list for the "Final Vote," in which the last NL all-star spot is based on internet voting.

"I know the challenges that come from (picking an All-Star team)," said Hurdle, who managed the NL All-Star team in 2008. "I sat in that chair. Well, I'm going to take this opportunity and be one of those managers and be disappointed in the entire process. The MLB whiffed. That he's not one of the guys getting in this little vote thing, getting into play in that. They whiffed on that. That's an absolute whiff."

The Final Vote candidates are outfielders Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, Mike Morse of the Nationals and Shane Victorino of the Phillies, first baseman Todd Helton of the Rockies and pitcher Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks.

Bochy used one of his "at-large" picks on outfielder Carlos Beltran of the Mets, and the players voted in outfielders Jay Bruce of the Reds, Hunter Pence of the Astros and Matt Holliday of the Cardinals.

McCutchen is one of the most productive center fielders in baseball. He is batting .294 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He ranks in the top 10 in the NL in on-base percentage and is tied for the NL lead with eight outfield assists.

"Look at the numbers he has," Hurdle said. "You can look at metrics. You can look at straight batting average, OPS, stolen bases. Whatever you want to look at, he's an All-Star.

"The players, they whiffed. Everybody whiffed on this one for me, in Andrew's case. Being his manager, I'm going to take my 42 seconds of soap box and remind everybody what a whiff-job they did with him not being on the All-Star team."

McCutchen, a third-year player looking for his first All-Star berth, could still make the NL roster for the July 12 game in Arizona if another outfielder pulls out due to injury.

Hurdle said the national perception of the Pirates — 18 consecutive losing seasons — probably hurt McCutchen's chances.

"The name on the front of the jersey has some challenges with it," he said. "We're out to knock them down. That has been our goal since the start of the season. This is another one we've faced and we'll knock this one down as well."

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