There will be some tears at PNC Park when Andrew McCutchen makes his return to Pittsburgh on Friday.
Some of those tears might be from former Pittsburgh Pirates star McCutchen.
The 2013 National League MVP, who revitalised the struggling Pirates franchise during nine seasons with the Bucs, was traded to the San Francisco Giants in the offseason. The two teams start a three-game series Friday.
McCutchen told reporters he got emotional when he ran into a Pirates videographer heading into the clubhouse. Things might get even more emotional when the Pirates play tribute videos featuring the five-time All-Star's highlights before his first at-bat and when he first takes the field.
"People have asked, 'How you going to feel? What's it going to be like?' I don't know until I'm there and until I'm in the moment," McCutchen said. "If I cry, I cry. Big whoop. You're supposed to. And I if I don't, I don't."
McCutchen had said he wanted to finish his career in Pittsburgh, but the Pirates traded him to the Giants in January for Kyle Crick, minor league outfielder Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 in international bonus pool space.
While the Pirates made the move for economic reasons, many fans were not happy. They still love 'Cutch', and the 31-year-old outfielder still has a special place in his heart for the city.
Pirates players will have their own emotions to deal with when facing McCutchen. Chad Kuhl, who is set to start against the Giants on Saturday, said he will never forget his first encounter with the four-time Silver Slugger at spring training in 2014.
"He might have said, 'Hey,' and I was just kind of star-struck," Kuhl said. "I walked right by him and almost froze. I was just star-struck. I was like, 'Holy crap, that was Andrew McCutchen.' I had that star-struck moment first time seeing him."
This will be a homecoming for McCutchen in more ways than one — he and his family still have a home in Pittsburgh. He is able to stay at home with his wife, Maria, and five-month-old son Steel Stefan McCutchen on this "road trip".
"We love our house. Ain't nothing going to change that. That's our home, man," McCutchen said.
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