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McCutchen looking forward to Pittsburgh series

Right fielder will return to PNC Park on Friday for first time since being traded
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

PHILADELPHIA -- Andrew McCutchen said that he didn't know how he'll feel on Friday when he approaches the batter's box for his first PNC Park plate appearance as a member of a Major League ballclub other than the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team and city he represented with distinction from 2009-2017.

In anticipation of that event, however, the Giants right fielder did liken it to a pair of life-changing experiences.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Andrew McCutchen said that he didn't know how he'll feel on Friday when he approaches the batter's box for his first PNC Park plate appearance as a member of a Major League ballclub other than the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team and city he represented with distinction from 2009-2017.

In anticipation of that event, however, the Giants right fielder did liken it to a pair of life-changing experiences.

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"I didn't know how I was going to feel before I got married, walking down the aisle," McCutchen said Wednesday, two days before San Francisco opens a three-game series at Pittsburgh. Referring to his son, Steel, McCutchen added, "I didn't know how I was going to feel when my wife was having that child."

Summarized McCutchen, "I'm going to be there and be in the moment and let my emotions be what they are."

More than likely, those emotions will run deep. McCutchen created a place for himself in the distinguished pantheon of Pittsburgh sports heroes, winning the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Award and symbolizing the hopes of Pirates fans for nearly a decade until economic concerns forced the team to trade him to the Giants on Jan. 15 for right-hander Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds.

At 31, McCutchen is continuing to perform as a leader should. Overcoming a slow start, he entered Wednesday batting .423 (11-for-26) during an eight-game hitting streak.

Video: SD@SF: McCutchen smacks RBI triple off the wall

"I don't want to be going in there not feeling great," McCutchen said. "To be going back and doing a fairly good job definitely is a plus."

McCutchen praised the Giants, expressing thanks for their treatment of him: "You feel really good to know that they're in your corner." McCutchen insisted that he immediately felt as if he were part of the organization, saying, "As soon as the jersey gets put on me, that's what I am. It's only been good things, positive vibes here and everyone's been very welcoming."

Asked if he's having fun with the Giants, McCutchen said, "Fun is fun, man. I always have fun. That never changes. I'm sure the cameras catch me smiling, laughing, whatever -- that's what I do. That never changes."

During serious moments, McCutchen said that he can commiserate with teammates such as Evan Longoria, another transplant who spent 10 years with Tampa Bay before joining the Giants.

"It's not just me that's going through this, which makes it easier, too," McCutchen said. "He had to uproot his family as well. We're all going through this together and I have some guys that I can talk to who are able to emphasize with each another about it."

When McCutchen steps in for that first Steel City at-bat in the unfamiliar role of visitor, though, all of it -- the ovation he'll surely receive, the maelstrom of sensations he'll struggle to override with his professionalism -- will be his and his alone.

Giants name honorary bat girl for Sunday
Helen Hughes Struck, whose determination would rival that of any ballplayer, has been named as the Giants' MLB Honorary Bat Girl.

Struck beat an aggressive form of invasive breast cancer which was diagnosed in late 2014, when she was 35 and the mother of a 16-month-old girl, Noa.

Under the care of her doctors at UCSF, Struck endured multiple surgeries and five months of chemotherapy.

Through this ordeal, Struck maintained her full-time job as an attorney and public defender.

Struck and her husband, Rocky, didn't allow her illness to affect their family planning. They recently adopted a baby son, Huck.

The Honorary Bat Girl program is part of MLB's industry-wide efforts to raise breast cancer awareness. During games on Mother's Day, players will wear newly designed caps highlighted by a pink crown and team color brim, while club uniforms will feature a pink ribbon on the left chest. A matching pair of pink socks is optional for every player.

During batting practice and in the dugouts throughout Sunday's games, players and managers can also wear new, grey, lightweight hoodies emblazoned with their team name and the MLB logo in a matching pink design. MLB players will continue to have the opportunity to use pink bats during Mother's Day games.

Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will donate proceeds from the sale of their pink bats, which will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. In addition to the pink bats on Mother's Day, the following game equipment can be used for breast cancer awareness: pink compression sleeves, pink batting gloves, pink footwear, pink wrist/elbow/leg guards and catcher's equipment.

• Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated that a schedule of rehabilitation pitching appearances could be established for right-hander Mark Melancon after he throws off a bullpen mound Friday.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Andrew McCutchen