Potent quotables: McCutchen's historic night

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“It was just one of those days
where everything worked. I got my pitches, I was able to hit them, and
I was able to hit them out.”

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– Rookie Andrew McCutchen, after becoming the first Pirates player to hit three home runs in a game
since Aramis Ramirez in 2001. He finished 4-for-5 with six RBI on the
night, and through his first 215 at-bats in the majors, the 22-year-old
is batting .293/.349/.488 with six homers, five triples, 31 RBI and
nine stolen bases.

“Am I going to miss San Diego?
Absolutely. I knew this day would come — being traded out — with the
direction the team was going. I’m glad it’s here sooner than later, and
we can get on and start playing baseball and worry about the one thing
on our mind, which is winning.”

– Jake Peavy was introduced to the media
as the newest member of the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. Currently
out of action with an ankle injury, Peavy will begin throwing off a
mound again this week. He doesn’t rule out a late-August return.

“Sometimes you have a No. 3 (hitter)
and need a No. 4 Other times you have a No. 4 and need a No. 3. If you
need a fourth-place hitter and you get Matt Holliday, your lineup
instantly becomes so deep because everyone gets pushed into a spot
that’s more fair. It just happens to be him.”

– Filling out the lineup card has gotten a bit easier for manager Tony LaRussa, as Matt Holliday has hits in each of his first nine games
since joining the Cardinals. He added three more hits, including two
solo homers, in a 3-1 win over the Astros on Saturday night. His .606
batting average (20-for-33) as a Cardinal is utterly ridiculous.

“Most of all, thanks to you, the
fans. This is not just my day. This is you, the fans’ day. … You have
shouted out, ‘Run, Rickey. Run.’ I need your help. Say it one more
time.”

And they happily obliged. Newly-minted Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson had his No. 24 retired by the Athletics on Saturday afternoon.

“Depends on who’s driving. We might
see a spike in beer sales on some of these weekends from a Southern
Indiana group of folks when my buddies come over.”

– Scott Rolen, who was acquired from the Blue Jays on Friday, is thrilled to be at least a little bit closer to home.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.