PITTSBURGH -- Enforcing his promise that all players will be treated equally, manager Clint Hurdle made that point loud and clear by benching Andrew McCutchen on Thursday, one day after McCutchen did not run a ball out.
The incident happened in the eighth, with the Pirates down, 2-0, to the Dodgers. McCutchen swung through strike three from reliever Matt Guerrier and did not run to first when the ball squirted away from catcher Rod Barajas.
"I know that's not the type of person I am," McCutchen said on Thursday. "I let my emotions get the best of me. I took it out on my bat and myself when I shouldn't have been mad. I was just frustrated at the time and not focused on the game, not focused that the ball was in the dirt with two strikes and I needed to run to first."
McCutchen finished Wednesday's game, but Hurdle had a one-on-one discussion with the center fielder on Thursday to let him know the lack of hustle was unacceptable. Hurdle left McCutchen out of the starting lineup, though Hurdle did say that the outfielder is available off the bench.
"I know our players clearly understand what is important to me, and as we create an identity in who we are and what we are, there are certain things that need to be done," Hurdle said. "You can't look past it. You can't stick your head in the sand. We're a team -- whether it's Ronny Cedeno or Andrew McCutchen."
Cedeno was in a similar situation last month. The shortstop was benched on April 27 after not running out a grounder he believed was foul. Cedeno did not return to the starting lineup for two days, though McCutchen is expected to be back in center field on Friday.
"I learned something very valuable in Colorado from [former Rockies president] Keli McGregor -- when it becomes only about winning, people never last," Hurdle said. "We are focused on winning, but we are focused on building something greater and better as we go forward. I think there are certain things that are non-negotiable along those lines. Sometimes they just need help with their direction."
"The main thing you learn is that the game of baseball needs to be played the right way," McCutchen said. "It was brought to my attention. That's not the way I play ball, I know that. It's a lesson learned. I'll learn from that."