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Pregame: Andrew McCutchen discusses injury

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

McCutchen discusses injury

A media throng of about 20 reporters slowly started to shuffle toward Andrew McCutchen's locker when he emerged from the training area in the Pirates clubhouse this afternoon. With his midsection wrapped in ice and his head down as he worked on his phone, McCutchen appeared unaware of the gang heading his way. Jordy Mercer did notice, however, and jokingly provided his teammate with an ominous warning, "Here they come."

The Pirates did not officially update McCutchen's status before the clubhouse opened, and speculation was that he was suffering from an oblique strain and would be placed on the disabled list. So it came as something of a surprise when McCutchen began to address the media and described his injury as an "avulsion fracture of the 11th rib." Quickly clarifying that "it is not an oblique strain, it is a piece of cartilage torn off of the rib." He added that no decision has been made about going on the disabled list.

"We don't want to put me on the DL right away because there is the possibility that I could be better before 15 days are up," McCutchen said. "Two days ago I couldn't put my shoes on. I can put my shoes on and put my clothes on now. Everything's fine. Nothing bothers me like that. So I'm improving."

Asked if thought there was a connection between his injury and being hit by a pitch, McCutchen said he was "not too sure," but that he doesn't want to "count that out."

"I take a lot of swings a day, one swing, all the sudden that happens. I'm not to certain. Maybe, it could have had something to do with it ... I really don't know."

His manager sees no connection, however.

"It's my understanding that it is a completely different incident," Clint Hurdle said. "He got hit in the back in the spine and this is a fracture of the 11th rib. A conspiracy theory can be put together if that's what you like to do, you can go with it. But I don't think it's factual or accurate."

Cole update

Gerrit Cole is scheduled to pitch six or seven innings and throw 100 pitches for Indianapolis tonight.

"He's going to take the ball and go," Hurdle said. "We're looking forward to seeing how he performs."

Hurdle confirmed once again that the reason Cole was scratched from his last start had nothing to do with his health.

"It's all been mechanical and him trying to regain his form," Hurdle said. "There is no urgency because we want him to be able to come back and be aggressive."

The Alvarez situation

Pedro Alvarez was placed on the bereavement list before tonight's game. Hurdle would not discuss the reason why. He did say that Alvarez was not in town with the team and that he would have to remain on the BL for a minimum of three days.

In terms of his future at third base, Hurdle said that he has not had any discussions with Alvarez about a positional change.

"I have not sat down with Pedro and discussed anything other than what I can do to support or encourage (him)," Hurdle said. "And there is nothing else I care to share."