McCutchen returns to Pirates' lineup as DH

Right fielder Polanco remains sidelined with left hamstring injury

McCutchen returns to Pirates' lineup as DH

TORONTO -- Andrew McCutchen returned to the Pirates' lineup on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Gregory Polanco did not and may soon find himself back on the disabled list.

After exiting Friday's 4-2 win over the Blue Jays and sitting out Saturday's 7-2 loss, McCutchen went 1-for-3 with a walk as Pittsburgh's designated hitter in the club's 7-1 loss to Toronto. He said before the game he was ready to play but expected he would be kept off the Rogers Centre's artificial turf as a precaution.

McCutchen left Friday's game with left patellofemoral discomfort, a cramp-like feeling he experienced after taking a secondary lead at second base. McCutchen felt better as the night went on, improved enough to work out before Saturday's game and did more running and agility work on the field Sunday morning.

Polanco underwent a "battery of tests" on Sunday, manager Clint Hurdle said, after his third left hamstring injury of the season. Polanco pulled up and limped off the field after attempting to chase down a fly ball in shallow right field Saturday afternoon. Polanco said after Sunday's game he could not have played in the series finale.

Polanco exits with injury

The Pirates did not place Polanco on the disabled list or call up a player to supplement their bench on Sunday, but they still could make a move before Tuesday's game against the Brewers at Miller Park -- with no designated hitter in play -- if Polanco does not improve after an off-day in Milwaukee on Monday.

Polanco he said this injury feels similar to the pain that landed him on the DL from July 22-Aug. 2, perhaps even worse than before. The 25-year-old was upset about the recurring injury, saying he followed the Pirates training staff's recommendations but still wound up aggravating his hamstring.

"I did treatment, everything they asked me to do. I drank a lot of water, stretching, everything. That's frustrating for me, for everybody," Polanco said. "I guess we've got to do something different. I'm waiting for them to decide."

If the Pirates put Polanco on the disabled list, they will likely move forward with Sean Rodriguez, Adam Frazier, John Jaso and Jose Osuna covering right field. Jordan Luplow is the only other outfielder on Pittsburgh's 40-man roster, but the versatility of Rodriguez and Frazier could lead the Bucs to promote an infielder like Max Moroff.

Hurdle returns
Hurdle rejoined the Pirates on Sunday morning after spending Friday and Saturday attending the funeral for Don Baylor. Hurdle was on Baylor's coaching staff in Colorado -- his first Major League coaching job -- and later hired Baylor to be his hitting coach with the Rockies.

Hurdle was struck by the number of prominent baseball figures attending the services in Austin, Texas, including Rod Carew, Frank Robinson, Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and John Mozeliak.

"It was really special, very special. Just a large group of people that came to honor a really good man," Hurdle said. "The networking of the people he had touched really showed up at the church. I got to spend a short period of time with [Baylor's wife] Becky and [son] Don Jr., which was significant in its own way."

Bench coach Tom Prince served as acting manager in Hurdle's place. It was an eventful stint for Prince, who turned 53 on Sunday, considering the in-game injuries to McCutchen and Polanco.

"I asked them if they wanted me to bring any duct tape, chicken wire and spit with me from Austin," Hurdle said, smiling.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.