The San Francisco Giants have to be pleased with the Andrew McCutchen Experience so far.
The veteran outfielder endeared himself to fans at fan fest by pandering to their anti-Dodger bias, comes off as the perfect teammate on social media and can now add an impressive start to Spring Training to his flawless first months with the team.
On Tuesday in Arizona, McCutchen wowed attendees during the first live batting practice of the 2018 season. According to Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group, the former Pittsburgh Pirate turned on an inside offering from ace Madison Bumgarner and sent it over the wall in left field.
The show of power prompted catcher Buster Posey to shove McCutchen out of the batter’s box because it’s typically not a good idea to show up Bumgarner.
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“I guess [Posey] was looking out for me,” McCutchen told reporters.
Posey called the gesture “partly a joke.”
McCutchen is coming off the worst two-season span of his career. He wasn’t a part of Pittsburgh’s long-term plans despite being a key figure in the franchise’s recent years of being competitive.
Now he’s with the Giants and through one day at least has showed he has something left in the tank for his age-31 season.
“He just loves the game, he enjoys it and he has a passion for it and he’s just so gifted,” manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. “He gets after it too, you watch him on the defensive stuff. He’s been a pleasure.”
By trading for McCutchen, the Giants were gambling that all he needed to regain his status as one of baseball’s best outfielders was a change of scenery.
If him being this sharp on a day when pitchers are supposed to dominate, San Francisco fans have to feel good about that bet.
Commissioner Rob Manfred desperately wants to speed up MLB games.
He’s fought with the players union over a pitch clock (which won’t be in play in 2018) and has implemented a limit on trips to the mound. Starting this season, teams can confer just six times. After that, they’ll have to change the pitcher if they want to stop the game to talk on the mound.
Catcher Buster Posey would like to see the league take a different approach.
“I would be in favor of an earpiece, I think that would just simplify everything but maybe that’s something that could work down the road,” Posey told reporters.
An added bonus: The move would cut down on opponents stealing signs, a practice that irked Posey on several occasions last season.