06/13/12 7:37 PM ET
McCutchen not worried about All-Star voting
By Greg Luca / MLB.com
McCutchen ranked 11th among National League outfielders in the results released on Tuesday afternoon, receiving 728,522 votes. That ranking is a drop from the previous week, when McCutchen ranked 10th.
"If it happens, it happens," McCutchen said. "If it doesn't happen or I don't make it, I just say, 'Oh, OK, that's cool.' You don't want to get your hopes up, even when they say, 'Oh, you're going.' I don't really focus on that. I just focus on what matters. That's trying to win."
The Pirates have certainly been winning, sitting just one game out of first place in the NL Central entering play on Wednesday, and McCutchen has been a huge reason why.
McCutchen's .324 average going into Wednesday's game against the Orioles was third in the Majors among outfielders, and he is the only outfielder other than Milwaukee's Ryan Braun to post double-digit totals in home runs and steals.
Though his numbers have been lofty, his vote count hasn't lived up.
"I really don't get too caught up in it," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I don't think we need to get [overly] serious with it. I don't think anybody needs to throw their hands up. It is what it is."
McCutchen has knocked in 12 runs in June, tied for second in the NL. He has also hit all 11 of his home runs since May 8, tying him for fifth in the Majors over that span.
His overall production, especially his .456 average against left-handed pitching, has him in the early discussion for Most Valuable Player honors.
"That's neat, but we've still got a lot of games left," McCutchen said. "That's cool to hear, that's real neat to hear, but we've still got a long ways to go, and there's still a lot of things that need to be done, and I'm just trying to stay consistent."
Pirates sign eight Draft picks
BALTIMORE -- The Pirates inked eight of their 2012 First-Year Player Draft selections on Wednesday, including sixth-round infielder Eric Wood and seventh-round catcher Jake Stallings.
The others signees were all pitchers: 10th-round right-hander Pat Ludwig, 12th-round left-hander Dalton Friend, 13th-round left-hander Thomas Harlan, 20th-round right-hander Kyle Haynes, 23rd-round right-hander Lance Breedlove and 25th-round left-hander Josh Smith.
After signing catcher Wyatt Mathisen on Monday, the Pirates have now locked up nine members of their 2012 Draft class.
Wood, who hit .326 with five home runs and 44 RBIs this season at Blinn College in Texas, will start his career with the GCL Pirates, the team's Rookie level affiliate.
The other seven -- including Stallings, who hit .297 with four homers and 36 RBIs at the University of North Carolina last season -- are slated to start with the State College Spikes, the Pirates' short-season Class A affiliate.
Both the GCL Pirates and Spikes are scheduled to begin their seasons on Monday.
Leroux showing progress in recovery
BALTIMORE -- Chris Leroux is showing progress in his recovery from a strained right pectoral muscle, and manager Clint Hurdle said that the right-hander could soon resume a normal role with Triple-A Indianapolis.
"He's come along fine," Hurdle said. "[He's] mixing his pitches. He's got a couple more one-inning outings scheduled, and then he's going to get plugged in the bullpen to be used however deemed necessary -- multiple innings, maybe a long guy, the variety of ways that we would use him if and when he would get back here."
Leroux has been on the 60-day disabled list all season after sustaining the injury in the Pirates' final exhibition game.
Leroux made his third Minor League appearance on Tuesday, throwing a shutout inning. He also threw one scoreless frame on Sunday after giving up one run on two hits in a three-inning start with Class A Bradenton on June 6.
Hurdle said that Leroux's effectiveness has been improving, as he needed only 12 pitches on Tuesday outing compared with 21 on Sunday.
Leroux has played in parts of three Major League seasons, most recently posting a 1-1 record and 2.88 ERA in 25 innings for Pittsburgh in 2011.
Garrett Jones was the designated hitter and hit fourth on Wednesday, becoming the fifth DH the team has used in five games in American League parks.
The Orioles announced on Wednesday afternoon that right-hander Jake Arrieta would start in place of left-hander Brian Matusz, who bruised his nose fouling off a pitch on a bunt attempt during batting practice.
Jones has hit safely in eight of his last nine games but is hitless in his last 21 at-bats against lefties. He is hitting .266 with seven homers and 21 RBIs against righties this season.
Greg Luca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.