Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen tried to talk himself into Sunday’s lineup against the Cubs and was successful at first, but Pittsburgh’s coaches and trainers eventually decided to play it safe.
According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jose Tabata is playing center field on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field with Matt Diaz covering left and Garrett Jones covering right.
McCutchen is only battling a bit of neck soreness and should be fine after a day or two of rest. He is 2-for-7 to open the season with a home run, two walks and two RBI. He has not yet attempted a steal.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.