Closing Time: Bucs undefeated in the McCutchen era

In his big league debut, Andrew McCutchen(notes) delivered a pie-worthy performance (pictured, right). The 22-year-old centerfielder filled the stat sheet in the Pirates' 11-6 win on Thursday, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored, one RBI, one walk and one stolen base. Mike Pelfrey(notes) and JJ Putz(notes) deserve a tip of the cap for making it all possible.

You can view the clip of McCutchen's first plate appearance here, at He smacked a single up the middle after falling behind 0-2.

The well-hyped McCutchen had 10 stolen bases and eight triples in 49 games at Triple-A prior to the call-up, and he swiped 34 bags last year. His speed is completely legit. It wouldn't be a surprise if he delivered 20 steals over the final four months. In most fantasy leagues, someone has a roster spot that would be better used on him. McCutchen is just 17 percent owned at the moment. Go get him.

In other prospect news, Gordon Beckham(notes) made his debut for the White Sox, playing third base, batting eighth and going 0-for-3 with one strikeout. The Sox were owned by rookie Brett Anderson(notes) today. Here's Ozzie Guillen's postgame assessment of Beckham:

“He struck out. What am I going to say? He was good? That kid’s going to be all right,” Guillen said. “He’s just another player. He had a bad day, just like everyone else.”

Josh Fields(notes) didn't exactly shine at DH for Chicago. He went 0-for-4 and lowered his average to .239 for the year. Jim Thome(notes) sat against the left-handed Anderson, but clearly Fields is the guy who loses whatever value he had, pre-Beckham.

If you hate hamstrings and wish they'd all just snap, please read on. This is your night.

Jose Reyes reportedly has a "small tear" in his right hamstring. Newsday speculates that this could cause him to miss another month. The Mets are expected to know and/or reveal more tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Miguel Cabrera(notes) appeared to suffer a semi-serious injury to his left hamstring on Thursday. He grimaced, stretched, limped, then finally departed the Tigers' 6-3 loss to the Red Sox. But hours later, the problem didn't sound quite so bad. This via the Tigers' website:

"Right now, I feel better," Cabrera said. "We'll see how I feel tomorrow. Hopefully, I feel good. If I feel good, I feel I can play tomorrow."

Jeff Larish(notes) took over at first base when Cabrera checked out. He has a little power, but the 26-year-old hit just .250 at Triple-A in '08 and .267 at Double-A the prior year.

JP Howell(notes) earned the save for the Rays on Thursday, retiring the Royals' 3-4-5 hitters on just seven pitches and impressing his manager in the process:

"Seven pitches to get three outs, that's beautiful," Maddon said. "That makes him available for [Friday] night. You love when that happens."

The left-handed Howell has been excellent this year, particularly in his last six appearances (6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K). It's worth noting that he was warming up to enter a game Tampa trailed 2-1, but BJ Upton's(notes) two-out, two-run homer gave the Rays a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth. Still, Howell is tonight's add from the Tampa 'pen

When Howie Kendrick(notes) is inducted into the Hall of Fame in the class of 2029, we'll surely recall his legendary mad dash against the Jays in '09. The man is simply a hero.

Chien-Ming Wang(notes) allowed five earned runs in 4.2 innings against the Rangers. His ERA is now a full-bodied 14.46 and his WHIP is 2.57. Wang struck out three of the first six men he faced, however, and he coaxed eight groundball outs. There were encouraging moments, but you can't possibly start him next week against Boston.

Pretty fair production from the top of the Twins' lineup on Thursday, not that you can add any of 'em in a competitive league:

Scott Baker(notes) delivered a terrific fantasy line for Minnesota (W, 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K) and he finally nudged his ERA below 6.00.

The Cubs and Braves were postponed, but the lineups were revealed. Newly acquired Nate McLouth(notes) was penciled in at the No. 3 spot. Kelly Johnson(notes) and Yunel Escobar(notes) were ahead of him, with Chipper Jones(notes) at cleanup and Brian McCann(notes) batting fifth.

Amid rumors of a possible demotion, Garrett Atkins(notes) homered twice in the Rockies' 10-3 win over the Astros. But the actionable fantasy news out of Colorado is that 23-year-old Carlos Gonzalez(notes) has been called up from Triple-A. He was hitting .339/.418/.630 at Colorado Springs with 10 home runs and six steals. Here's Jim Tracy discussing the move, from the Denver Post:

"We are not bringing him in to be a part-time player, I can tell you that. And we'll leave it at that," Tracy said.

These are nervous days for those invested in Ryan Spilborghs(notes). Matt Murton(notes) has been returned to Triple-A for the billionth time.

We'll have more on Gonzalez tomorrow. Tonight we encourage you to congratulate the Unit on win No. 300. Have at it, commenters.


Photo via AP Images

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