CLEARWATER, Fla. — Much less time within the sizzling tub, extra time on the sector, that is the best way Andrew McCutchen likes his springs.
“I imply, I really feel like I’ve acquired a left and proper leg this yr,” he mentioned Wednesday at Spectrum Subject. “Not two proper legs.”
McCutchen mentioned he’s lastly feeling like himself once more after tearing the ACL in his left knee in June 2019. Phillies supervisor Joe Girardi mentioned he not sees a limp when McCutchen stops working. Coaches see improved quickness. McCutchen simply sees the probabilities of standard enjoying time and regular manufacturing over the course of a 162-game season.
A return to kind can be a pleasant option to cap a three-year, $50 million contract, wouldn’t it?
“You’re employed so laborious and then you definately get rewarded, proper?” McCutchen mentioned. “You get this contract, you get this deal, all you need to do is play out that contract. Play to the place you are feeling like, you realize, I used to be price what they gave me. You bought the ACL damage [in 2019], then 60 video games [in 2020], and you are like, ‘I have not performed a full season but, you realize?’ So yeah, to truly have the opportunity of enjoying a full season and enjoying how I do know I can play, I am wanting ahead to that. As a result of I do know what I am able to doing. I do know it is nonetheless in there. I really feel nice. I really feel robust. And, yeah, I am wanting ahead to having the ability to compete each single day and to actually play. Like I am price that contract, proper?”
McCutchen in contrast his Spring Coaching routines from final spring to this spring as an instance how significantly better he feels.
“Final yr it was present up, get within the sizzling tub, get the coach to get his fingers on you, transfer me round, stretch me out, be on the desk for half-hour, get within the weight room, get on the bike, do all these items,” McCutchen mentioned. “Simply a lot stuff that I needed to do earlier than I even stepped foot on the sector. Now it is similar to, all proper, cool, present up, have a smoothie, go within the fitness center, heat up, go within the cage, hit. That is the place I am at.”
McCutchen, 34, began 36 video games in left discipline final season. He began one other 16 at designated hitter, which is not going to be an choice this yr until the league and union change their minds.
That’s OK. McCutchen expects his enjoying time in left discipline to leap considerably anyway.
“It higher,” McCutchen mentioned. “I imply, I don’t need to be handled like I’m 45. That quantity, hopefully, ought to be lots higher. I feel final yr was extra seeing the place I am at, as a result of it is not like I had rehab video games final season to get myself ready. I used to be simply sort of simply thrown into the hearth, per se. After which it was like, ‘OK, that is what we see. How do you are feeling?’ On daily basis it was like a report. I needed to go in and be like, all proper, that is how I felt. ‘Hey, let’s provide you with a break day tomorrow, get your legs again underneath you.’ Now, hopefully, it’s simply extra, ‘I already understand how you are feeling. You look nice. Preserve going.’ Hopefully it will get to the purpose the place possibly if I really feel like I would like a day, I can say, ‘Hey, I might in all probability use a day tomorrow.’”
McCutchen hit .253 with 10 dwelling runs, 34 RBIs, a .757 OPS and a 102 OPS+ final season. Apparently, his slugging share (.433) remained comparatively near his common from the earlier 4 seasons (.447), whereas his on-base share (.324) dropped extra considerably from the earlier 4 seasons (.358).
McCutchen thinks he is aware of why: he had not confronted pitchers in a very long time. He missed the ultimate 102 video games in 2019. He performed solely two Grapefruit League video games in ’20 earlier than the spring schedule acquired cancelled. He performed in only some scrimmages at Residents Financial institution Park earlier than Opening Day.
“I used to be like, ‘All proper now, I am again, however now I must get again into the routine of baseball, seeing pitches, swinging, being selective,’” McCutchen mentioned. “I used to be enjoying catch up in that division, to the place I felt like my swing charge was in all probability basically the identical. Nevertheless it was once I was swinging and making contact. I felt like that was off. I felt like once I was swinging, I wasn’t hitting the ball how I needed to hit the ball. It was extra of hitting the ball into the bottom. It was extra of swinging and lacking. That is why I felt just like the stroll charge went down, swing charge went up, strikeouts went up. It was simply, ‘All proper, man, you’ve acquired to do what you’ve acquired to have your self prepared.’ Do I really feel like myself? Internally, yeah, I really feel like myself, however wanting on it, dang, I am swinging and never hitting the ball or I am lacking the ball or I’m swinging out of the zone somewhat bit.
“It’s simply getting recalibrated.”