Cutch 'healthy scratch' with tight left Achilles

Hurdle expects Pirates center fielder back vs. Cards

Cutch 'healthy scratch' with tight left Achilles

MILWAUKEE -- Annoyed for a few days by tightness in his left Achilles, Andrew McCutchen rested on the Pirates' bench -- and on his laurels -- Thursday in a 5-3 loss to the Brewers. The National League's August Player of the Month was out of the starting lineup, but called it a "healthy scratch."

"My Achilles has been tight, and it's been nagging me. I wouldn't call it an injury, just something I've dealt with," McCutchen said.

McCutchen visibly pulled up a bit while running out a ground ball in the eighth inning Wednesday night, but manager Clint Hurdle didn't connect that to the day off. McCutchen got a blow earlier this season when he tweaked the left knee that had reined him in Spring Training.

"That didn't happen [Wednesday] night," Hurdle said. "It's happened a couple of times in the past five, six days and we've been talking about a day off. Last night we decided today would be a good day."

Actually, McCutchen said the knee "hasn't given me any problems since the beginning of the season."

Since the knee stopped being an issue, McCutchen has been giving the league problems. His offense has trended up all season, reaching a slash of .348/.470/.609 in August to earn him his fourth career Player of the Month honors.

McCutchen is the third player in club history with that foursome, matching Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla.

McCutchen will be back in center field Friday night when the Bucs kick off a significant series in St. Louis against the National League Central-leading Cardinals.

"Unless he misses the flight," Hurdle said.

As for trying to top the nemesis Brewers without McCutchen -- he's swatted 15 homers in 52 career games in Miller Park -- Hurdle said, "We've won games without him."

They haven't had to try too often. Thursday's game marked only the 63rd start McCutchen has sat out since his first full season in 2010. The Bucs were 23-39 in the first 62, including losses in the first three games this season he had not started.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.