McCutchen eager to be back with Pirates

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm •  Published: February 18, 2014
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BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Andrew McCutchen was almost as busy this winter as he was last season, when he helped the Pittsburgh Pirates reach the National League playoffs.

McCutchen batted .317 and set career highs with 38 doubles and a .404 on-base percentage. The center fielder earned his third straight All-Star berth, won his second Silver Slugger and was the NL Most Valuable Player.

Days after picking up the MVP award, McCutchen flew to the West Coast to be a presenter at the American Music Awards. He played in Shane Victorino's charity golf tournament in Maui, Hawaii. Back in Los Angeles in December, McCutchen proposed to his girlfriend, Maria, on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

After all that, McCutchen was happy to return to his native Florida and the relative calm of spring training. The Pirates held their first full-squad workout Tuesday.

"I had way more distractions this year," McCutchen said. "It was a quick offseason, but it was fun. I knew the quicker my offseason, the quicker the season starts and the quicker I'll get married. That's fine with me, so I embraced it."

The early part of McCutchen's offseason was a whirlwind of appearances related to his status as reigning MVP. He's the sixth Pirates player to win the award and received 28 of a possible 30 first-place votes.

But after his appearance on "Ellen," McCutchen's image as a baseball star also became that of a soon-to-be-married man.

"I wasn't surprised," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I knew that after I proposed to her, people would totally forget about the MVP award. That's as it should be."

However, McCutchen is all business now that spring training is under way. As usual, he came to camp with a personal to-do list that he shared with manager Clint Hurdle.

"We get his thoughts on the work he's done this winter and where his focus is this spring, and we'll see if it matches up," Hurdle said. "Every year I've been here, it pretty much has. Andrew usually comes with a couple focus points. His game continues to get better and more consistent. He sets the bar pretty high for himself."

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