(PITTSBURGH) — Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen is switching positions from center field to right field. McCutchen was abruptly informed last month he would be making a move to right field from center. Right field is a position he’s played just once in his 12-year professional career dating back to the minor leagues.
The five-time all-star and former MVP spoke to reporters about the move for the first time at spring training. He says it took him awhile to process that he was no longer playing center field. But he says the player taking his place, standout defender Starling Marte, is a great option.
The position switch capped what proved to be a trying calendar year for McCutchen. He watched his batting average drop close to 40 points below his career average in 2016, and he was not playing defense at the same level that earned him a Gold Glove award in 2012.
Following a long offseason of trade rumors, McCutchen told reporters he is, “just happy to be here” at Pirates spring training. He did not expect he would be playing for Pittsburgh when he was one of the most discussed trade pieces during December’s winter meetings.
McCutchen concedes that he still could be traded midseason should the Pirates not be contending for a playoff spot. While he is still a Pirate though, he says he wants to prove 2016 was a fluke and show fans “that this is just the beginning of some good stuff.”
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