SAN DIEGO -- On the fifth anniversary of his first Major League game, Andrew McCutchen wondered, "Where has all the time gone?"
"It's definitely flying by, especially the way things are going now," McCutchen said Wednesday, five years after he had made his debut, in PNC Park. "The season's a whirlwind. Life is a whirlwind."
In baseball, life also tends to be cyclical. So McCutchen observed his anniversary while anticipation is growing for another young man expected to trace his footsteps.
Gregory Polanco could soon make the scene and, as McCutchen did on that June 4, 2009, midweek afternoon, enter as the Bucs' leadoff hitter.
McCutchen was 22 years and 237 days old when he broke in with the Pirates. Polanco on Wednesday turned 22-263.
"It's nothing we can control," McCutchen said of Polanco's ETA, looking around the team's Petco Park clubhouse. "All we can control is what we have here."
In that first of 792-and-counting, McCutchen went 2-for-4 and scored three runs in an 11-6 victory over the Mets.
As we now know, it was the catapult to a remarkable career, still in its early stages but already quite distinctive. Since that day, McCutchen leads the National League in both runs scored (487) and hits (877), while ranking in the top three in practically every other offensive category.
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.Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.