As Dejan Kovacevic reported earlier today, Andrew McCutchen does not have a strained oblique, as the team just announced that the actual injury is fractured rib (most accurately, an avulsion fracture) and that they won’t be placing him on the disabled list right now, since he’s improved in the last two days and they hope that he’ll be recovered quicker than the 15 days that a DL stint would require.
This is potentially good news, since an oblique injury is almost an automatic month on the sideline and this would be the absolute worst time for the Pirates to be Andrew McCutchenless for a month. I suppose if you’re constructing best case scenarios in your head, then maybe it’d be possible for the Pirates to sneak through a week against the Marlins and Padres without McCutchen and have him back before the schedule gets difficult starting with the Tigers next week or before the NL contenders start cropping up when the Pirates go to DC the following weekend.
The problem, of course, is that I think this is probably a little bit more uncommon for a baseball player than an oblique injury, which means that the recovery timetable may well be more uncertain. The club still hasn’t ruled out a disabled list stint, which means that it’s possible that they’ll play shorthanded for a few days this week and then still be without McCutchen for an extended period of time. That’s obviously a worst case scenario; we’ll just have to wait and see from here.
The Pirates are saying that they don’t think this injury comes from the incident with the Diamondbacks on Saturday, but given that the 11th rib (where the fracture happened) is in the lower back, well, I dunno. I’m certainly not a physician or a physical trainer anything. I guess I’d say that if the injury is unrelated to the HBP, well, I’d find that to be an awfully big coincidence, and it seems to me that saying that it’s unrelated is both taking the high road and trying to deflect attention from an incident that is now firmly rooted in the past. Those are both things I’d expect Clint Hurdle and Andrew McCutchen to do, so I suppose there’s not much use in lingering on this either way.