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?”

Rays moving spring camp due to damage caused by hurricane

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays are relocating their spring base for 2023 due to extensive damage to team training facilities caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Rays have trained since 2009 in Port Charlotte, Florida, about 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, and intend to explore several options before making a decision on where to hold spring training and play Grapefruit League games when camp opens.

The team and Charlotte County released a joint statement Thursday, saying damage to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte can’t be repaired in time to host games this winter.

“Charlotte County supports the Rays efforts to secure alternative accommodations for 2023 spring training,” the statement said.

“We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts,” the statement added. “The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”