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McCutchen rejoins starting lineup for opener

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.

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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."

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