The Pirates placed outfielder Andrew McCutchen on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 4, with a rib cartilage fracture that has kept him out of the lineup for a week.
The Pirates were weighing whether or not to place him on the DL because he had improved fairly rapidly and is such a critical piece to their playoff push.
Now McCutchen will not be available to return until at least Aug. 19, meaning he will miss, at minimum, a home-and-home series (four games) against the Detroit Tigers, three games against the Washington Nationals, and a portion of a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves series.
General manager Neal Huntington called McCutchen's progress Sunday "remarkable" and said the next challenge is to get him back to playing fearless in the outfield at 100 percent.
"He's getting after it," Huntington said. "Is he game-ready? No. But the next step will be to determine how quickly he can be game-ready. We're certainly not babying him and he's not babying himself. He's pushing to be back as soon as he can. We need to make sure we're smart about it, not put him in harm's way."
McCutchen suffered an avulsion fracture of the costochondral cartilage of the 11th rib, which Huntington referred to as a torque-based injury.
"He's been completely honest with us. We've ramped up some things, slowed down some things based on how he's feeling," Huntington said. "This is one, a little bit like a hamstring injury, you play to tolerance. But there is the threat of regression, there is the threat of re-injury, and that's a part of our thought process as we try to intelligently progress him, so that we don't re-aggravate it or worse."
To take McCutchen's place on the active roster, right-hander Casey Sadler was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis.
Sadler is 9-4 with a 3.06 ERA in 18 starts for Indianapolis.
Manager Clint Hurdle said before the roster move that McCutchen's ability to assess his body and share his analysis has been a major help.
"Andrew is one of the most honest self-evaluators I've ever met," Hurdle said. "In all actuality, it makes the decision more clear. He's going to tell you what he truly believes and thinks he's capable of doing.
"If there is a risk versus reward, you are going to try and slide in the area of caution if you're only talking about a couple games differential."
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