Hurdle sticks to rotation, as McCutchen gets day off

Hurdle sticks to rotation, as McCutchen gets day off

Hurdle sticks to rotation, as McCutchen gets day off

ARLINGTON -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has a plan, and a disciplined commitment to sticking it. He proved it on Wednesday by resting Andrew McCutchen, because it was the center fielder's turn to get a blow.

"He's getting a day. [Justin] Morneau got one [on Tuesday]. We try to plan it out," Hurdle said, "to give guys a blow here and there, then we'll run the gauntlet the rest of the way."

It must have been really difficult for Hurdle to stick to his plan and have McCutchen sit out the Pirates' final Interleague game of 2013, given how he has lit up American League pitchers -- particularly those from the American League West.

Going 5-for-9 in the first two games of this series hiked McCutchen's 2013 Interleague batting average to .375 (27-for-72). The 27 hits are a club record for Interleague Play, topping Freddy Sanchez's 25 in 2006.

Within that big picture, McCutchen has punished AL West pitchers at a 24-for-57 (.421) rate.

There was another reason, Hurdle joked, for giving McCutchen his first day off since June 3.

"Haven't you heard? There's going to be a record high today," Hurdle said before the 1:05 p.m. CT first pitch in Rangers Ballpark. "One-hundred-seventy-five degrees."

Who better to insert in those oven-like conditions than a Pie (Felix Pie, who started in center)?

Pie walked, stole his first base since 2011 and scored on Neil Walker's single in the third inning of the Pirates' 7-5 win.

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