andrew mccutchen

Andrew McCutchen taking his hacks, taking virus seriously and getting a glimpse of retired life

Andrew McCutchen taking his hacks, taking virus seriously and getting a glimpse of retired life

Around 11 a.m. Thursday, Andrew McCutchen wanted to go take some hacks. He's not getting work in seven days a week like he was during spring training — no sense in overdoing it right now — but is still working out five times a week and those are the only five times he leaves the house. 

McCutchen is in Florida with his wife Maria and their two young sons. The family is taking the stay-at-home guidelines seriously. He's the only one leaving the house and he keeps hand sanitizer, gloves and a mask on him. 

"I've taken it as seriously as possible," McCutchen said during a phone conversation Thursday.

"Realizing I have a family back home so I don't want to jeopardize their lives at all because this thing is serious. It's taking all the measures and steps and caution that I can when I'm away for a couple hours. That's kind of where I am. It's around, it's real and you've got to treat it that way."

It, of course, is coronavirus, which has practically shut down the entire country and has left each pro sports league's 2020 schedule in jeopardy. 

This has been a humbling experience for millions upon millions of people. We are all largely in the same boat — you, me, Bryce Harper, LeBron. We all have to stay in the house, we're all bored at times, stir crazy at times, depressed at times, wondering when this will pass.

MLB last week worked out key issues pertaining to 2020 pay and service time in the event of a canceled season. With those details finalized, there isn't a ton of baseball talk going on between players at the moment.

"Baseball is kind of on the backburner. We're all dealing with real-life problems," McCutchen said. "There's just some things in life going on that we're putting ahead of that, putting in front of that. I'm just doing my best, as far as getting myself ready physically. But at the same time, realizing that I've got a family at home and they depend on me to be there to provide and I know there's just so many other people going through things that are much worse. 

"Baseball-wise, there's not that much to talk about, there's more to talk about with the everyday things going on and the drastic changes in the world."

As we search for any silver lining to this heartbreaking situation, one could be that it resets some of us, reminds us of what is truly important and how much the loved ones we can't see right now mean to us. 

This is a much different situation than any a professional athlete has gotten used to. In a radio interview with Mike Missanelli Thursday, Phillies manager Joe Girardi remarked that "it was like going from winter to winter." 

McCutchen feels things slowing down in his mind and in his world. He's getting a lot of family time with Maria, their two-year-old son Steel and three-month-old son Armani. They're thinking of ways to keep Steel active and everyone sane during a period when outdoor activity has been drastically limited.

"I realized I'm really able to slow down and use my brain a little more than I guess I have," McCutchen said. "Just thinking about things to do with my son around the house, there's so many things to do. Like yesterday, we had chalk and were like drawing on the driveway. Just doing little things like that every day has been super helpful. But at the same time, it's kinda fun because we're able to relive our childhood and just think about that simplified life we used to have."

It's also giving McCutchen, 33, a glimpse of life after baseball.

"It kinda speeds up a little bit on you when you think about this moment," he said. "You think about how when you're retired one day how life's gonna be, it's essentially kind of what it's like. It kinda isn't, but you're not playing at all, I can kinda look at it like that. I'm not playing, I haven't played in a full year. I'm just trying to think of how it would be when I'm not playing, when I'm actually done playing. 

"It makes me realize to not take anything for granted, not take the game for granted, enjoy the game as much as you possibly can. Don't take it too seriously. The game is important but realize that you're playing a game. Only way you can play is by having fun. Just keep doing that. This thing doesn't last forever. I just miss being out there on the field with my teammates, playing in front of the fans, the roar of the crowd, thinking of all those things that you've experienced and knowing that when we're back, whenever that is, who knows when that will feel normal again because of all of this. Or when will it be? Not trying to take anything for granted. Just being grateful and thankful for the opportunities and your past in this game."

If/when the 2020 MLB season does begin, McCutchen will be ready. The Phillies won't have to play a month without him like they would have if the season began on March 26. McCutchen, who tore his ACL last June, says this is the longest he's ever gone without playing a game since he picked up a bat at five years old.

"Now I know, whenever the time comes and we're playing again, I'll be ready to go," he said. "I'm really gonna be itching to get out on the field and play but right now I just need to take care of business and take advantage of this time."

He didn't have a preference for who was set to lead off in his absence.

"I guess I didn't pay much attention to who I wanted to lead off because I'm the leadoff guy," McCutchen said. "I think we have a few guys who can do it. There's Adam Haseley of course, I think Roman Quinn was showing some spark. I think a lot of people were looking at J.T. (Realmuto) as well because he can get on base a lot and can do a lot there in the leadoff spot, but I think it'd be a little harder for him being a catcher. 

"We had a handful of guys who could do it but I guess I don't have to worry about that anymore because I'll be leading off."

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Phillies' Andrew McCutchen wants help picking his glove for 2020 MLB season

Phillies' Andrew McCutchen wants help picking his glove for 2020 MLB season

Like plenty of pro athletes right now, Andrew McCutchen has been an active presence online since Major League Baseball suspended spring training and announced its regular season would be delayed amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

McCutchen, who hasn't played since June 2, 2019, is particularly excited for a return to normalcy, so he's looking ahead to the (hopeful) start of the 2020 season.

This week, he posed a question to his Instagram followers: which glove should he use this year?

He tossed up three quick videos on his Instagram stories, showing three options:

1. White exterior (with red interior)

2. Blue exterior (with red interior)

3. Red exterior (with yellow interior)

They're all very good-looking gloves, but if you ask me, the blue exterior-red interior is the perfect match for the Phils' current uniforms. 

The white exterior-red interior would match the white pinstripe unis a bit too closely, and the yellow interior with the red exterior clashes just a little too much for my liking. The blue exterior is a nice splash of the team's third color, without being too distracting.

McCutchen's Instagram story will have disappeared by Thursday at 1 p.m., but you can always try messaging him or tweeting at him on Twitter with your preference - he's pretty responsive to fans online, which is cool.

Here's hoping we get to see McCutchen rocking one of these three sooner rather than later.

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More than a handful of Phillies will benefit from delayed regular season

More than a handful of Phillies will benefit from delayed regular season

Given the CDC's recommendation that crowds of 50-plus should be avoided nationwide for at least another eight weeks, it is unlikely we see regular-season baseball before late May or early June. 

Phillies players have been advised by Joe Girardi to work out like it's the offseason. "If you're a pitcher and throwing some light bullpen (sessions), do that," Girardi said.

It's hard to see many silver linings in the sports world during this unexpected period of inactivity, but one is that the delayed start of the regular season will benefit several key Phillies.

Andrew McCutchen

This is the most obvious one. McCutchen, recovering from ACL surgery, was not going to be ready by the original opening day of March 26. But he should be ready when the 2020 regular season does begin. He'll have had an additional two months or so to ease into more comfortable lateral movements and changes of direction and speed.

McCutchen is a huge key to the Phillies' season because he's their most capable leadoff hitter and can also be a run producer. In a lot of ways, he made the Phillies "go" last season before his injury on June 3 in San Diego. 

David Robertson

Robertson had Tommy John surgery in August 2019 but was already throwing by mid-February and said at the beginning of camp that he felt like he could go throw a bullpen session that day.

Obviously, the Phillies are approaching it more cautiously. The chance existed even with a March 26 opening day that Robertson could contribute late in the regular season. Now, he may be able to pitch a half-season's worth of innings in the Phillies' bullpen.

The Phillies are desperate for bullpen help, especially with Seranthony Dominguez looking like he's headed for elbow surgery of his own. Robertson is so much more accomplished than anyone else in the Phillies' bullpen. He had a 2.59 ERA in 65 appearances per year from 2011-18 and has more than a decade's worth of experience in high-pressure spots.

Spencer Howard

The Phillies were set to monitor the workload all season of their top pitching prospect, 23-year-old Spencer Howard. His career-high in innings in any season was 112 in 2018 and the Phils weren't going to let him go too far beyond that number, though no limit was ever explicitly stated.

With the 162-game season almost sure to be shortened, a larger portion of Howard's innings could come at the major-league level. There shouldn't be as much of a need to space out his starts or reduce his big-league role because of the minor-league innings he'd thrown prior to his call-up. 

We could see the majority of Howard's innings come in The Show in 2020.

Aaron Nola

This is kind of a hidden one, but the Phillies' ace has pitched 212⅓ and 202⅓ innings the last two seasons. The abbreviated 2020 schedule should prevent him from hitting the 200-inning mark again, which could better preserve Nola's right arm long-term.

Similar theme for Zack Wheeler, who has averaged 189 innings the last two seasons.

Alec Bohm

Some have speculated the shorter regular season could affect service time considerations and make the Phillies more likely to call up their top offensive prospect, Alec Bohm, earlier than expected. 

But the fact still remains that the Phillies' infield is set with Scott Kingery, Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura. Barring injury, Bohm isn't taking the everyday spot of any of those guys.

Bohm could still force the Phillies' hand by tearing up minor-league pitching and giving them little choice but to insert him into a run-producing spot in the lineup. But that moment probably will not come early in the modified 2020 regular season.

Tommy Hunter and Victor Arano

Two Phillies relievers coming off season-ending injuries who were probably not going to be ready for opening day but might be sufficiently past them by the time the season begins. Hunter had surgery last July to repair his right flexor tendon. Arano had elbow surgery last May.

Hunter and Arano combined for just 10 innings last season. Arano had been very effective the previous two seasons, posting a 2.57 ERA in 70 appearances.

Other teams

The Phillies aren't the only NL East team that will get players healthier over these next couple of months.

• Freddie Freeman had been battling an elbow injury that affected him late in 2019 and slowed him in camp.

• Cole Hamels was set to miss at least a month with a shoulder issue.

• Yoenis Cespedes (ankle) and Michael Conforto (oblique) of the Mets weren't set to make their regular-season debuts until at least mid-April.

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