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Andrew McCutchen struggled with Pirates' decision to move him to right field

Andrew McCutchen struggled with Pirates' decision to move him to right field

Andrew McCutchen says he struggled with the Pirates' decision to move him to right field, but then realized he was being selfish.

It's been a tough offseason for Andrew McCutchen. Coming off his worst season, he spent the past few months listening to trade rumors involving his name and several other teams.

Finally, when it appeared he would start 2017 in Pittsburgh, he got some surprising news — the Pirates were shuffling their outfield, moving McCutchen from center field to right, with Starling Marte going to center, and Gregory Polanco shifting to left.

MORE: MLB 2017: Handing out grades for every MLB team's offseason

For McCutchen, who had played only one game in right field in his entire 12-year pro career (at Double-A Altoona in 2006), the move hurt — especially the fact the Pirates didn't even ask him.

"It was more, 'This is something you have to do.' It wasn't an ask," McCutchen told reporters Friday (via MLB.com). "It was more of [the team saying] that I have to move there and it's for the betterment of the team. That's one of the first times where that's something I wanted to go against.

"But as I'm saying that, I'm talking about myself. I had to not be as selfish and just accept that's what I have to do and move over to right."

McCutchen, 30, says he still felt he could do the job in center.

"It's more difficult because I feel I can still play it," he said. "I don't feel like I'm at the end of my career. You know, people like to say, 'Torii Hunter moved to right.' Uh, also, Torii Hunter was 35 years old when he moved to right. So at the same time, I'm 30, and I feel like I can still play it."


The player who helped resurrect baseball in Pittsburgh after 20 straight losing seasons is ready for a bounce-back year. He played hurt at times in 2016 and struggled in the field and at the plate, with career lows in batting average .256 and OPS (.766). He's entering 2017 with optimism, and trying to put a positive spin on the shift to right, as his tweet of legendary Pirates right fielder Roberto Clemente earlier this month showed.

"Once I got over the fact that I had to move, the more I started to look at it, get some positivity out of it, that's one way to look at it," McCutchen said. "Clemente set the standard for someone I would love to be like — at least half that guy. It's an honor to be out there playing in that position."

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