"I'm glad I could still help out," said McCutchen, who called the issue with his shoulder "an ongoing thing. "I've been dealing with it on and off, and we decided to just give it a day to rest it.
"We're thinking for the future. So we gave it a day."
Starling Marte slid over from left field to center to replace McCutchen, whose status was officially listed as day to day. Alex Presley was inserted in the lineup in left field against Miami right-hander Jose Fernandez.
The development with McCutchen arose without prior concerns.
The National League Most Valuable Player Award candidate did contribute to the Pirates' 4-3 victory Tuesday night with an all-out diving catch in the seventh inning on which he had to fully extend both arms.
Afterward, however, McCutchen oddly made a point of stating, "I got myself in the best position to catch it. I feel I made it look fairly easy. At least I didn't get hurt."
In his postgame remarks Thursday, manager Clint Hurdle did acknowledge that McCutchen had aggravated the ongoing discomfort in the shoulder while making that catch. McCutchen also puts strain on the joint by often going into bases headfirst on steal attempts.
McCutchen had shown no signs of discomfort in Wednesday night's game, in which he launched his 16th homer and later beat out an infield single to help set up the winning run in the Pirates' 4-2 victory.
Likewise, his swing obviously was not impaired as he pulled a laser into left field to abet the Bucs' tying rally on Thursday. McCutchen had previously been 0-for-4 in his rare pinch-hitting opportunities.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.