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Pirates star McCutchen done for the season after partially tearing his Achilles

Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits a double.
Gene J. Puskar
Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, right, hits a double off Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes, driving in a run, during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Monday, Sept. 4, 2023.

Andrew McCutchen's feel-good homecoming season is over.

The Pittsburgh Pirates placed the designated hitter on the 10-day injured list Wednesday after he partially tore his left Achilles tendon while legging out a double in a victory over Milwaukee on Monday night.

“It’s pretty disappointing, especially when it wasn’t necessarily something that I expected before I got the news,” McCutchen said.

The 36-year-old initially said he was “fine" with what the club initially called “tightness” in his lower left leg. Further examination by the Pirates medical staff revealed the tear. Director of Sports Medicine Todd Tomczyk said McCutchen will be in a walking boot for six weeks, adding that at the moment the team doesn't believe surgery will be required.

McCutchen hit .256 with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs this season, his 15th since breaking in with Pittsburgh in 2009. He collected his 2,000th career hit in June and was one home run short of 300 when he limped into second base following an RBI double down the left-field line.

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A five-time All-Star and the 2013 NL MVP while playing for Pittsburgh from 2009-17, McCutchen is scheduled to be a free agent during the offseason. He has repeatedly expressed he did not view 2023 as a farewell season and that he would prefer to stay in his adopted hometown beyond the end of his current deal.

“I’m not gonna go out like this,” McCutchen said. “I want to continue to keep playing and push through this, let this heal and be ready to go for 2024.”

The Pirates brought McCutchen home in January to give a young clubhouse a leader who has been where they are trying to go. He got off to a solid start but struggled after the All-Star break. McCutchen was hitting just .233 with two home runs in the second half.

“It was a good year, a decent year for me,” he said. “I just wanted to finish strong. I wanted to go into September and finish strong because my last couple (of) months weren’t where I wanted them to be. They were below par.”

McCutchen's return after five years bouncing from San Francisco to New York to Philadelphia to Milwaukee gave the Pirates a public-relations boost off the field and an experienced presence in the lineup.

The Pirates got off to a torrid 20-8 start before falling off the pace as spring turned to summer. Still, Pittsburgh entered Wednesday having already surpassed its 2022 win total (62). The Pirates also have been a .500 team since the trade deadline, when the organization went all-in on giving youngsters like catcher Endy Rodriguez and infield Liover Peguero plenty of opportunities.

McCutchen plans to be around the clubhouse as much as possible down the stretch.

“It can be tough on a team losing a veteran player and losing someone they have respect for,” he said. “I’m going to try and do what I can to be there for them and hoping that we can finish the season strong.”