Andrew McCutchen benched again, won’t play Thursday either

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As his season-long slump has continued, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen was benched for Tuesday’s series opener against the Braves. He wasn’t in Wednesday night’s lineup either, and manager Clint Hurdle doesn’t plan to use him at all on Thursday, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

McCutchen is batting .241/.311/.408 with 15 home runs and 43 RBI in 431 plate appearances. It would be adequate if we weren’t talking about someone with four top-five NL MVP Award finishes, including a first-place finish in 2013.

Hurdle noted that McCutchen has tried everything to no avail. “He’s tried a lot of things. This man’s fought. He’s done early work, late work, side work, video work. Nothing’s worked.”

Hurdle also made sure to clarify that McCutchen’s benching isn’t retaliation for comments made to the media on Tuesday, as McCutchen said he questioned the Pirates’ decision to trade starter Francisco Liriano to the Blue Jays and closer Mark Melancon to the Nationals.

McCutchen said, “There is some confusion. Some things that feel like, ‘Why? What was the reasoning behind some of our moves?’ That’s the biggest thing.” He added, “There are things that I’m sure for all of us kind of blew us away. Where we are [mentally] is just like, ‘Dang. Wow. That’s crazy.’ You know?”