Andrew McCutchen admitted after Sunday’s game against the Reds that he was trying to upset the rhythm of Cincinnati right-hander Tyler Mahle, who was making his major league debut, but it wasn’t gamesmanship as much as simple safety.
The Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder had been forced to twist away from a high-and-inside fastball earlier, and he felt Mahle wasn’t giving him enough time to get set in the batter’s box. McCutchen asked plate umpire Jeff Kellogg for time out three times and got one “Yes” before striking out and then exchanging angry words with the umpire — vehement enough that manager Clint Hurdle and third base coach Joey Cora had to intervene.
“I thought (Mahle) was quick to the plate,” McCutchen said after the game. “I asked (Kellogg) three times, and I got one. It’s all about safety for me. They’d buzzed me earlier. I want to be ready.”
The 22-year-old Mahle didn’t seem to be particularly rattled by the incident.
“He thought I was pitching too quick and was trying to get me out of my rhythm,” Mahle said before Tuesday’s game. “I saw what he was trying to do. It’s part of the game. I didn’t think too much about it.”
Manager Bryan Price didn’t notice any change in Mahle’s approach.
“I don’t think, at that point in time, it affected him,” Price said. “I thought he looked polished.”
“Remarkably so,” someone observed.
“Agreed,” Price responded.
Mahle is scheduled to start against the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Catching up: The catching corps was back to normal for Tuesday’s game against the New York Mets.
Stuart Turner returned in time for the game after spending three days on paternity leave in Louisiana, where his wife, Danielle, gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son they named Easton Michael.
The Reds promoted Chad Wallach to fill in for Turner and sent him back to Triple-A Louisville when Turner returned, but his stay with the Bats will most likely be short-lived. Tucker Barnhart is due to leave the team for the birth of his and his wife Sierra’s first child.
“As long as the two we have at any given time stay healthy, we’ll be OK,” Price said. “Chad will be back at some point in the Mets series.”
Arizona bound: One current Dayton Dragon and five former Dragons will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, it was announced Tuesday.
Current Dayton infielder Taylor Sparks will be joined by infielder Blake Trahan, catcher Chad Tromp, left-handed pitchers Joel Bender and Brennan Bernardino and right-hander Jake Ehret.
Jay Bell, who was Cincinnati’s bench coach in 2014 and 2015, will be the Scorpions manager.
Andy’s glove: A recent addition to the counter behind Price’s desk in his Great American Ball Park office is a beat-up, brown, left-hander’s glove — an Andy Pafko model.
The glove was a gift from bullpen coach Ted Power, who got it from a friend whose wife had him get rid of some memorabilia, Price said.
Pafko was a five-time All-Star outfielder for the Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers and Milwaukee Braves from 1943 through 1959.
By today’s standards, the glove is tiny, reminding some veteran Reds observers of the little glove Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan used during his career.
“I remember that,” said Price, who watched the Reds at Candlestick Park as a Giants fan. “He’d catch those popups with that glove and it looked like he caught it with his bare hand.”
Homer’s back: After being pushed back from his start Sunday, right-hander Homer Bailey (4-6, 7.99 ERA) is scheduled to start Wednesday’s second game of the three-game Mets series.
Bailey was taken out of his start against the Cubs on Aug. 22 after three innings. He slipped on the mound while delivering a pitch and “tweaked” the back of his right shoulder, creating some irritation. He could have started Sunday, he and the Reds say, but Price decided to give him extra time.
Bailey has undergone three surgical procedures on his right elbow and forearm since September 2014.
Right-hander Rafael Montero (2-9, 5.64) is the Mets’ scheduled Wednesday starter. Montero lasted 4 1/3 innings in his only other career start against the Reds last September. He gave up three hits, four walks and three earned runs with four strikeouts without a decision.