McCutchen admirably playing despite pain

The banged-up Andrew McCutchen and his Pirates are just 1 1/2 games from an NL wild-card spot. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

After Andrew McCutchen banged into the center-field wall making a catch Tuesday night, he paused for a moment, bent at the waist, and was probably doing one of three things:

1. Assessing whether his injured ribs had been knocked free from his body.

2. Catching his breath.

3. Managing the pain.

Maybe he was doing all the above, all at once, but McCutchen probably wouldn't tell you exactly what was going through his mind, because he seems to be another disciple of the Ripken-Jeter-Miggy Cabrera School of Grin and Bear It, where the mantra is that if you are on the field, you don't really acknowledge your injuries.

But Pirates manager Clint Hurdle saw McCutchen hit the fence, and probably knows from precise trainers' reports how McCutchen is faring, and Hurdle removed the reigning National League MVP from the game in the late innings Tuesday. You wouldn't have blamed McCutchen if he had sat out Wednesday afternoon's game a mere 14 hours after the completion of Tuesday's game.

But McCutchen was back in the lineup in the third and final game of the series against the Cardinals, and he was hacking aggressively, as was Russell Martin, who had caught the night before.