McCutchen was playing well when he went down with an unfortunate ACL injury earlier this year. Free use photo from wikimedia commons.

This past offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies made one of their marquee signings when they brought in former AL MVP and All-Star Andrew McCutchen on a 3 year, 50 million dollar contract. McCutchen had spent his whole career prior to that point across the state with the Pittsburgh Pirates, outside of 2018 where he was with the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants. 

During his 2019 tenure with the Phillies, McCutchen has been much more than a batter and a good outfielder, he has been a major figure in the locker room. Andrew has been one of the most successful baseball players in recent memory and has been able to pass down advice to his teammates including Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. Sadly on June 2nd, McCutchen was caught in a rundown between 1st and 2nd base and tore his ACL in a freak accident. I had the opportunity to sit down with Andrew to talk a bit about his past career, his road to recovery, and his role while he has been injured. 

So I know you’ve been at a few games, but overall as a veteran, what has the line of communication been like with the team during your absence?

I can’t physically be out there on the field as far as playing with the team. So I’ve been trying to help the team in other ways I can. For one, just being a presence in the locker room along with other things I can do for the team during the games. I have no official role but I’ve been trying to find things to do. 

What has been the process been like on the road to recovery with your ACL?

I’ve been working with my trainer a lot. The recovery is a long process, having to do the same routine over and over every day, but the process itself is a long one, tomorrow having been 8 weeks since surgery. But things are moving in the right direction. Yesterday, I did the pool for first time, and I do some walking side shuffles. These are small things, but they are showing that I’m moving in the right direction, so hopefully I can be back next spring. I’m going to do everything I can do to get healthy.

What is most important to you in your life outside of baseball?

Family, man. Family is most important. Having not been out on the field is tough because it’s a big part of my life, but having time with family – probably the most time in my career – is amazing, being able to spend some time away. I don’t ever get this time often, so I’m taking advantage of it. There’s a lot of downside with this injury, but there is some upside and that’s what I’m taking from this injury, and that’s just a big part of life. 

After years in Pittsburgh, were you worried at all about being accepted as a leader and teammate when you arrived in Philly?

No, not at all. First, I don’t see myself as a leader. Not saying I don’t step up and help out; just not how I see things about myself. And I just try to keep a positive outlook and help keep the clubhouse light. And just being around the team when players are getting tired in the dog days of summer; just trying to be around and just being myself.

Having been one of the most active players on social media, what has the fan outreach been like to you online?

Positive. People post on Instagram, looking forward to what I say or tweet sometimes. It can be something that is funny, and people don’t see that as much I think. That is the advantage of social media; people see that side of me more than they have seen. Being able to do that, especially with not playing and using it more, people are being able to see what I have to say. Being in Philly has just been positive overall.

This is from one of Andrew’s favorite young fans, Jake. He asks, “If you could meet any baseball player from history, who would it be and why, and what would you learn?”

Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente are the two guys. Jackie, just because of breaking the color barrier and being a pioneer. Just for everything else he has done for the game too. To talk to them about that, that would be crazy. Roberto, because he used his fame for better. He helped others and showed it was bigger than the game, and being able to talk to him about that would be awesome.