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Cutch pens heartfelt letter to Pirates fans

'I don't think I'll ever not be Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirate'
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- A trade moved Andrew McCutchen's career out of Pittsburgh, but the former face of the franchise made it clear Monday that the move didn't take Pittsburgh out of his heart and mind.

McCutchen's love and appreciation for Pittsburgh was the subject of a lengthy piece published under his name on The Players' Tribune. McCutchen began the article by reflecting on his last home game as a member of the Pirates, during which he received a lengthy standing ovation, and ended it by looking forward to his next game at PNC Park.

PITTSBURGH -- A trade moved Andrew McCutchen's career out of Pittsburgh, but the former face of the franchise made it clear Monday that the move didn't take Pittsburgh out of his heart and mind.

McCutchen's love and appreciation for Pittsburgh was the subject of a lengthy piece published under his name on The Players' Tribune. McCutchen began the article by reflecting on his last home game as a member of the Pirates, during which he received a lengthy standing ovation, and ended it by looking forward to his next game at PNC Park.

Read McCutchen's full letter

On May 11, McCutchen will step into the batter's box in Pittsburgh in a Giants uniform -- as he wrote, "With San Francisco on his shirt. And Pittsburgh in his heart."

Tweet from @TheCUTCH22: Pittsburgh.My Home.My Fans.My City. The placed that raised me and helped mold me into the man I am today. You will 4ever be in my heart.A tip of the cap to all who have been on this journey with me. With Love and respect,Cutch pic.twitter.com/QB0n9vuBuZ

McCutchen shared his perspective on the Jan. 15 trade that sent him to San Francisco for reliever Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds. He and his wife, Maria, had just put their baby, Steel, down for a nap when his phone lit up with text messages and a news alert about the reported trade, which GM Neal Huntington quickly explained was not yet official.

"Neal, you know, he was all class," McCutchen said. "And he made me feel like I was still a guy the Pirates cared about, even as they were giving me up."

About an hour later, McCutchen said, Huntington called back with the news. He was a Giant, no longer a Pirate.

"It's like, one minute I was just hanging out … and my biggest worry was if my son would fall asleep for his afternoon nap," McCutchen wrote. "And then the next, it was like, my life as I knew it wouldn't ever be the same."

Video: McCutchen on joining Giants, looking forward to 2018

McCutchen said the news still "stings a little" because he hoped to be a member of the Pirates for life. He had only known one organization since the Bucs drafted him 11th overall in 2005, when he was 18 years old. In his letter, McCutchen wrote about Cal Ripken Jr. and the Orioles and Derek Jeter with the Yankees, players who spent their entire careers with one team.

"Those guys earned the right, earned that honor, of being synonymous with their cities -- because those cities were the only places they ever called home," McCutchen wrote. "And I always wanted to be that guy for Pittsburgh."

With that no longer a possibility, McCutchen reflected on his time with the Pirates and the relationships that began in Pittsburgh. Then, McCutchen, wrote, he thought about his identity: "Who am I now?"

Video: McCutchen's powerful legacy in Pittsburgh

"Because in my mind, for the rest of my life, I don't think I'll ever not be Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirate," he wrote. "For me, that's been more than just a job title. That's been a part -- a core part -- of my identity, for so long. … Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirate has just been who I am."

At the same time, McCutchen said he is excited about joining the Giants, "an organization that is all about winning talent, and all about winning culture." And it's not as if he's leaving Pittsburgh. He and Maria still own a home in the city's northern suburbs, and McCutchen said they intend to live there.

Video: PIT@WSH: Cutch doubles for his final hit as a Pirate

"I might be closing the door on this stage of my life … but it's a glass door, I promise. I'm going to look back through it, fondly and often," he wrote. "And I'm going to walk back through it, when the time is right. This team will always mean a lot to me.

"And this city will always mean everything."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Andrew McCutchen