Frustrated McCutchen out of lineup with sore knee

Hurdle says injured star could pinch-hit if needed

Frustrated McCutchen out of lineup with sore knee

MILWAUKEE -- The day after taking himself out of a game because of pain in his left knee, Andrew McCutchen stayed out of the Pirates lineup Saturday and admitted to frustration over the development, but had an optimistic view of the near future.

He took a DPL -- did not play -- but wasn't about to take a DL.

"Definitely not," McCutchen said of going on the disabled list. "My leg would have to fall off for that to happen."

Only McCutchen's comfort level and play have fallen off. He departed Friday night's game upon leaving the batter's box after lifting a ninth-inning fly to right and feeling a twinge in the left knee -- the same joint partly responsible for a long layoff in the middle of Spring Training.

"It is frustrating," McCutchen said of the recurrence. "I've always been the type of player who comes in in tip-top shape, 100 percent ready to go. And it's been a little different for me this year, battling a few things. (In Spring Training) it was more than just the knee, the lower body in general. Now (the knee) seems a little more acute.

"I was fine the whole game, then it really came out of nowhere. So I had to shut it down a little bit. You're on the field performing, and next thing you know, you can't go out on the field and finish the game. It is frustrating."

The only medical diagnosis relayed to him: "A sore, sore left knee," McCutchen said.

He got some treatment, then Saturday's rest -- although manager Clint Hurdle, after watching McCutchen's controlled pre-game workout, said he would be available to pinch-hit.

"If I have to," McCutchen said. "Hopefully I don't have to -- that means we're winning by a big margin."

Besides just the discomfort, the other source of McCutchen's frustration is evident: A finely tuned, elite athlete dealing with his first reminders that he is not indestructible.

"I want to be out there with nothing hindering me from performing the way I know I can," he said, "and right now I'm not there. And it's how it's been for a while. I'm trying to battle, man, do what I need to do to get that back. Treatment and a little rest will hopefully propel me into not having an issue any more."

Tom Singer is a reporter for 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.