McCutchen rejoins starting lineup for opener

McCutchen rejoins starting lineup for opener

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen returned to the Pirates' lineup for Tuesday night's game against Washington in a familiar home, the three-hole in the batting order. But there was still something different about the neighborhood: Neil Walker in front of him, Pedro Alvarez behind him.

The Pirates began action Tuesday with a record of 1-0 when using that alignment. It is manager Clint Hurdle's intent to "stack some people in front of Pedro," right now the team's biggest threat. The Bucs beat the Reds, 3-2, when that lineup was unveiled on Saturday.

McCutchen played all of that game, and also the first four innings of Thursday's game in St. Louis. That is a total of only 13 innings in the week since he came down with a nasty stomach flu, but McCutchen wishes he hadn't played even that much.

Given Sunday off by Hurdle and Monday by the Pirates' schedule has made all the difference.

"Yeah, definitely. That was some well-needed time off," McCutchen said. "I felt good today, woke up feeling really good. So I feel like my normal self, ready to go out and start playing again.

"I lost a little weight, but I'm slowly putting it back on," he added. "I got my appetite back, so I'll be able to put it back quick."