McCutchen looks to improve on basepaths

McCutchen looks to improve on basepaths

McCutchen looks to improve on basepaths
PITTSBURGH -- It's always a shock to Pirates fans when another team gets the better of Andrew McCutchen.

The basepaths is an area where the All-Star center fielder has struggled at times this season. While McCutchen has swiped 15 bags in 2012, he's also been caught stealing nine times and picked off on four occasions.

Manager Clint Hurdle said McCutchen probably ran with more "reckless abandon" earlier this year, but Hurdle has seen changes in the way opposing teams approach his star, too.

"There's more focus on Andrew everywhere he goes," Hurdle said. "And we'll actually notice, the best release time the pitcher has is when Andrew's on base. ... He's giving him his best time because he thinks he might run, so that has been a little bit prohibitive and challenging."

McCutchen stole five bases in both April and May and four more in June. He went 0-for-3 in July, though, and is 1-for-2 so far in August.

When he was a rookie in 2009, McCutchen posted 22 steals in just 108 games. He followed with 33 stolen bases in 2010 and 23 more in 2011.

"He's got on base more than ever before. I'd like to see him get up and go more. He's aware of that," Hurdle said. "That's a work in progress. I do think that that part of his game will reignite."