MILWAUKEE -- The Pirates' first victory of the season, 6-2 over the Brewers Friday, came to a disconcerting end, as fans who tuned to the game saw the Bucs take the field in the bottom of the ninth without Andrew McCutchen.
McCutchen, the 2012 Gold Glove centerfielder, obviously is not someone who gets removed for defensive purposes. So something is still up with the team's charismatic star, who missed most of the first half of Spring Training with "lower-body discomfort."
McCutchen's self-administered hook this time was described as "left knee soreness," said manager Clint Hurdle, who added, "I just knew I had to take him out of the game."
McCutchen kept to himself following the win, declining to meet with the media.
To many observers, McCutchen may have appeared to jar himself jumping for a Jonathan Lucroy drive in the seventh that went for a triple. But McCutchen seemed impaired before that and, in fact, whatever bothered him probably prevented him from catching the ball that short-hopped the fence.
"No, that wasn't the play," Hurdle concurred. "He took himself out after he ran down the line on that grounder, and felt a little something."
The only ground ball off McCutchen's bat came in the third inning, hit to third base. McCutchen ran through first, but only at a half-speed jog, very uncharacteristic.
In the fifth, McCutchen drew a walk and had to work himself around the bases, eventually scoring on Starling Marte's sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, McCutchen hit a fly to center, never let go of the bat, and stopped halfway down the line before turning back to the dugout.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.