McCutchen Getting Ready

McCutchen is anxious to start the year

Daniel McCutchen only made nine appearances last year but made a quick impression with the Yankees, going 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA and striking out a batter per inning pitched in two minor league stops until being slapped for a 50-game substance abuse suspension. With 16 games left in his suspension to start the year, he's getting himself ready for his season.

"It's going good so far," Daniel McCutchen said of his work in Spring Training. "I really like the atmosphere, come in, get your work done, and get out of here. There's not a whole lot of standing around and goofing around, just working all the time and I like that."

Earning the reputation as a hard worker in his brief stint with the Yankees last season as the kind of player eager to make quick adjustments, McCutchen isn't satisfied with the success he had in his debut season.

"There's a few things mechanical-wise that I've been working on from last year," he revealed. "Staying back, staying in a straight line and having everything directed towards home plate, and just really getting a good feel for all of my pitches."

"I've been working on my two-seam a little more and just tuning up my changeup and curveball with my fastball and trying to locate it on both sides of the plate."

Forced out of action last year due to a substance violation for taking Adderall, a drug used for attention deficit disorder, McCutchen had 16 games remaining on his suspension at the start of the 2007 season.

While that kind of road-block to the start of one's professional career might have many players down mentally, the laid-back Texas native takes it all in stride.

"I really haven't thought about it much," he said of having to miss the first 16 games of the season. "It gets brought up every now and then by some guys just goofing around, but I'm an easy going guy so I just take it with a grain of salt."

"I'm just coming out here trying to get my work done, go through Extended, and then they'll ship me off to wherever."

Considering he pitched well in both the NY-Penn League and in the South Atlantic League last year, all while possessing the polish of a four-year college pitcher, it remains to be seen where McCutchen will break camp once his suspension is over.

"I know a lot of things can happen as far as guys getting moved up or moved down, guys getting injured, there's a lot of factors that haven't been put into place yet," he said when speculating where he might begin his first full year of professional baseball. "Just wherever, I'll be happy. It doesn't matter where I go, it's just execute on the mound wherever I'm at."

Where he'll be pitching this season isn't the only question unanswered at this point. Whether he'll be asked to execute out of the bullpen or in a starting capacity also remains to be seen.

"I came out of the bullpen [one time] with a guy on first base but then I've also been in the starter's routine," he said of his time in Spring Training, "so I don't know. I'm fine with whatever. I think I'm versatile enough to do whichever one and I'll prepare myself whichever one comes up."

Possessing three plus pitches - including a mid-90's fastball, a great curveball, and an advanced changeup - gives him the necessary tools to succeed in either role and he says his stuff feels real good as the end of his suspension draws near.

"I feel good," he said of his stuff. "My body feels good, my arm feels good - the legs are a little dead but they're kicking up. I came into Spring Training in pretty good shape. I had a good offseason working out and stuff."

"I'm not saying I'm not in mid-season form yet but my fastball has been good. My bullpens haven't gone as well as I've liked but when I get out there on the mound it all changes. I get the feel for my curveball and I start throwing where I want to throw it. Stuff-wise, everything feels good."

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