Andrew McCutchen apologizes for lack of hustle that led to benching

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Rain canceled last night’s Pirates-Dodgers game, so Andrew McCutchen’s one-game benching for not hustling ends up being a zero-game suspension, as he’ll be back in Pittsburgh’s lineup tonight.

However, the Pirates center fielder still took the time to apologize publicly for his not running to first base on a third strike that got away from the catcher Wednesday, saying “I know that’s not the type of person I am.”

Here’s more of what McCutchen told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com:

I let my emotions get the best of me. I took it out on my bat and myself when I shouldn’t have been mad. I was just frustrated at the time and not focused on the game, not focused that the ball was in the dirt with two strikes and I needed to run to first.

Clint Hurdle appears to have established a zero-tolerance policy on not hustling in his first season as Pirates manager, benching Ronny Cedeno last month and McCutchen yesterday. Treating a role-player like Cedeno the same as a star like McCutchen is crucial when taking that approach, and McCutchen seems fine with the benching.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.