Andrew McCutchen tore his ACL in a rundown and will miss the rest of the season, causing the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies to again reshuffle their outfield.
McCutchen hurt his left knee during Monday night’s game against San Diego and an MRI revealed the injury.
“It’s not the news I wanted to hear,” McCutchen said Tuesday.
McCutchen said he hopes to be OK for opening day next season. Manager Gabe Kapler said he didn’t have the date for McCutchen’s surgery.
“I just need to take the steps I need to take to get myself back and ready for next year,” he said.
McCutchen, 32, was hitting .256 with 10 home runs, 29 RBIs and an NL-high 43 walks. The 2013 NL MVP was in the first season of a three-year, $50 million contract.
McCutchen had been on the injured list only once before, back in 2014 when he starred for Pittsburgh.
“It’s really disappointing. Andrew has not just been a catalyst at the top of the lineup but also in our clubhouse,” Kapler said.
“Even at the outset of the season when he wasn’t as productive as he has been recently, he was still a really good baseball player for us. He got on base consistently and did the job of seeing pitches and setting the tone for the rest of the lineup,” he said. “He’s a weapon for us because he can play centerfield and leftfield, is a very aggressive baserunner and through the entire season he has unquestionably been one of our better players. So it is a loss.”
The injury came a week after Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera was put on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, a day after his arrest in a domestic violence case at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Herrera’s leave has since been extended through June 17 — he cannot play until MLB lifts the restriction.
Last weekend, the Phillies acquired outfielder Jay Bruce in a trade with Seattle. Bruce was expected to fill the role as a lefthanded hitter off the bench, and get some time in the outfield.
The Phillies also called up Adam Haseley from the minors. The 23-year-old was set to start in centerfield against the Padres on Tuesday night in his major league debut.
Haseley was hitting a combined .275 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading.
Manfred doesn’t expect inseason changes
Commissioner Rob Manfred said he does not expect teams to make changes to the protective netting around ballparks during the season, although he expects conversations to continue about whether netting should be extended.
Manfred’s comments on Tuesday came less than a week after a young child was struck by a foul ball and hospitalized in Houston. Manfred said structural issues in each individual stadium would make it difficult to mandate changes during the season, but the incident at Minute Maid Park will lead to conversations into the offseason.
Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. hit a line drive in the fourth inning of last Wednesday’s game into the field-level stands down the third base line, where it hit a young girl. Manfred said communication with the family of the young girl has been primarily done by the Astros, who have then updated the commissioner.
“Look, I think it is important that we continue to focus on fan safety,” Manfred said. “If that means that the netting has to go beyond the dugouts, so be it. Each ballpark is different. The reason I hesitate with ‘beyond the dugout,’ I mean, a lot of clubs are beyond the dugout already. But, there is a balance here. We do have fans that are vocal about the fact that they don’t want to sit behind nets. I think that we have struck the balance in favor of fan safety so far, and I think we will continue to do that going forward.”
Following recommendations from MLB, by the start of the 2018 season all 30 teams had expanded their protective netting to at least the far ends of the dugouts after several fans were injured by foul balls in 2017. The latest injury has sparked renewed debate about whether protections should go down the foul lines.
“It’s very difficult given how far the clubs have gone with the netting to make changes during the year, because they really are structural issues,” Manfred said. “But, because safety is so important, I’m sure that conversation will begin and continue into the offseason.”