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Andrew McCutchen has a broken rib, not an oblique strain

Aug 5, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

Andrew McCutchen AP

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review just spoke to Andrew McCutchen who told him that he does not have an oblique strain. Rather, he has a broken rib. There is also some cartilage damage in the area.

It’s not at all clear if this changes his timetable. On the one hand, McCutchen tells Sawchik that he is not on the DL yet because he is hoping to see if he gets quick improvement. On the other hand, broken ribs often take as long as oblique strains to heal. Troy Tulowitzki missed about four weeks last year with a broken rib. Some guys are only out a short time. Others miss a ton of time. There’s a lot of variance. Mostly because there are a lot of ribs.

Updates when we get them.


UPDATE: Pittsburgh confirmed this …

  1. Every 5th Day - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Reblogged this on Every 5th Day Baseball and commented:
    What a shame. The game loses an MVP candidate due to Kirk Gibson’s misguided sense of justice.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      The 11th rib is one of the floating ribs. Way too low for the HBP. I’m not defending Gibby or the Snakes, but the ball hit him much higher than the floating ribs.

      • wvucolumbus - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        As a rehab professional, let me assure you that it’s nearly impossible for you to state that it didn’t hit the cartilaginous tip of the 11th rib (which is most avulsion fractures occur). I am a Pirate fan and I wouldn’t comment one way or the other. However, the possibility of a fracture due to the beanball cannot be ruled out.

      • bisonaudit - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:37 PM

        Not a beanball. If it were we’d be talking about a skull fracture.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        Columbus: But per the “contrachostal” part, the fracture occurred on the front side of the torso. Add the two together, and I’m pretty sure we can rule out the HBP.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        Also, per what you said way down below?

        The replay I see, he’s hit on the TOP of his left-hand number “2.” Normal people don’t have floating ribs anywhere near that high, not on the back side rather than the chest side.

        Enough said; if Pirate fans, even presenting caveats, want to believe that the HBP caused this, that’s what they’re going to believe.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 5, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        I just watched the video again, and I think some of you better look at it again. I froze it close up and the ball hits him in the lower back. I’m not saying that’s what caused it, but people saying it hit above his numbers are wrong.

        And bison- any pitch that is designed to intentionally hit a batter is a “beanball”. What are you talking about?

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:58 PM

        Hit in head = Beanball
        Hit anywhere else = Hit by pitch
        Teleported from Starship Enterprise to another location or vice versa = Beamed


      • tearlw - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        Beanball usually means a pitch to the head. Old-timers slang: Head = Bean. It often doesn’t anymore, but it used to all the time. When old players like Don Zimmer tell their stories about getting “beaned” it meant they got hit in the head.

      • rwags333 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:21 PM

        To all of you morons arguing about the old-time use of “beanball”, please line up and let Chapman hit you with a fastball! We can discuss the terminology if & when you get up.

    • CyclePower - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      Ken Rosenthal ✔ @Ken_Rosenthal
      Just now received follow-up text from trainer saying McCutchen injury probably NOT from HBP. Injury is ligament or tendon pulling from bone.
      12:44 PM – 5 Aug 2014

      • Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:14 PM

        If the injury is related to the costochondral region….of course it isn’t related to the HBP. The injury described is as likely to result from that HBP as a concussion is.

  2. stex52 - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Sounds like that pretty much puts to rest the argument about whether the HBP was the cause of the injury.

    • bisonaudit - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Avulsion fracture is not necessarily the result of blunt force trauma. Highly trained athletes can do that to themselves.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        Plus the region of the injury has to be anterior, as that is what the costochondral joints and associated cartilage are located….not in the middle of your back.

      • dsaverno - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        I don’t know. I’m not a doctor, and my medical knowledge comes from the google, but the 11th rib happens to be the bottom one, the one that was drilled by the d-backs. It would be one hell of a coincidence if he just happened to crack the rib he was drilled in whilst swinging in the next game.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        Indeed, it’s often not due to blunt force. Per Wiki:

        An avulsion fracture is a bone fracture which occurs when a fragment of bone tears away from the main mass of bone as a result of physical trauma. This can occur at the ligament due to the application forces external to the body (such as a fall or pull) or at the tendon due to a muscular contraction that is stronger than the forces holding the bone together. Generally muscular avulsion is prevented due to the neurological limitations placed on muscle contractions. Highly trained athletes can overcome this neurological inhibition of strength and produce a much greater force output capable of breaking or avulsing a bone.

        As a Cards’ fan, I’m also kind of reminded of Jack Clark’s rib head separation.

  3. Stiller43 - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    You guys catch wind of this?

    sorry if I already missed the story on here!

    • Bob Loblaw - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      What a joke. The D-bags are just a horrible bunch of jag offs, run by head jag off, Captain Kirk.

      • natocoles - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        Agreed, also bonus points for a (presumably) Pittsburgh fan using the term jag off!

    • stairwayto7 - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Hopefully MLB sees this and suspends him 7 games

      • 6superbowls - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:57 PM

        MLB doesn’t give a rat’s @ss. While they should, they’ll do nothing as usual.

    • danaking - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      I’m not 100% convinced that’s Montero’s middle finger. He did jump way inside at the last second before the pitch, though. I don’t think there’s too much question it was a deliberate plunking.

    • yahmule - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      No surprise. Montero buys into the DBacks philosophy without reservation.

  4. chris3141084 - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I guess the D’bags I mean D’backs won by being gritty. Now the MVP is out for a month.

  5. halfful - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Seems like the pitcher and manager that ordered the beaning (allegedly?) should miss as many games as McCutcheon does. Fair trade.

    • blacksables - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      He was hit in the back. How was he beaned?

      • uwsptke - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        “Beaning” has become synonymous with being hit by a pitch regardless of the location.

      • blacksables - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        No it hasn’t. Only for the lazy and unknowing.

      • bisonaudit - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Beaning is not synonymous with being hit by a pitch regardless of the location. Just because a lot of people happen to misuse the term doesn’t redefine it.

      • jm91rs - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        Yet since you clearly knew what halful meant here, your pet peeve over the misuse of the word beaning really adds nothing to the discussion.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        bisonaudit – unfortunately, that is exactly how language works. In fact, Merriam Webster just added an alternate definition for the word LITERALLY: (2) virtually. Common usage does redefine words. Most beanings, and beanball wars have nothing to do with hitting a player in the head, necessarily.

      • blabidibla - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        “Just because a lot of people happen to misuse the term doesn’t redefine it.”

        Until it does.

        lit·er·al·ly adverb \ˈli-tə-rə-lē, ˈli-trə-lē, ˈli-tər-lē\
        : in a literal sense or manner : actually
        : in effect : virtually

      • clydeserra - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        Oh. my. god.

        Lighten up

        Yes, unfortunately more and more people uses beaning when they don’t mean hit in the head. You have lost this war, give it up

        Just like I don’t correct people anymore when they say 2000 was the first year of the century, you don’t have to like it, but you have to accept it.

      • blacksables - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        No, just proving my point that 90% of you don’t know anything about the game at all, but like to spew your nonsense anyhow.

        If you can’t get the terminology right, you really aren’t a fan of the game. You’re just a fan of complaining about certain aspects of that you don’t even understand.

      • bisonaudit - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        Why would you give up on the year’s ending in zero thing?

        It’s kind of important that people know how to count.

      • jm91rs - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        We should poll everyone at the gate and throw them out if they don’t know the true meaning of beaning. They obviously aren’t fans, just fans of complaining.

      • bisonaudit - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        Also, people don’t use the term literally in the figurative sense because they don’t know what it literally means. They’re purposefully inverting the definition for effect. That is not what his happening with beaning. People literally don’t know the proper definition and they’re accidentally misusing the term.

      • blacksables - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        Everyone at the gate doesn’t come here to make themselves look stupid. Unlike the ones who think a beaning means getting hit somewhere other than the head.

        If you don’t know, just ask. Some of us know about the game. We’ll help you.

        Don’t be afraid. After awhile, you won’t be wrong everytime.

      • dsaverno - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        he was drilled, hit, he took one for the team, he (didn’t) leaned into one, he wore stitches, tasted horsehide, . . . and cracked a rib. Oh, yeah, he was beaned in retaliation, too.

        Who relieved himself in your Alpha Bits this morning?

      • blacksables - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:18 PM

        Ray Chapman and Mickey Cochrane are offended by your ignorance of beaning.

      • chinahand11 - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        He. Was. Not. Beaned. Just my two cents. The old bean is the head. Ergo, beaned means hit on the noggin with the ball, not elsewhere. No, not rattling my cane, putting in my two.

      • rwags333 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        Sorry, Mr. Baseball History, we didn’t mean to offend you by implying that a word can have a different meaning 50 years later. Intentionally throwing at a player is “beaning”. Let’s remember, nobody threw 100 mph back then. How about, to prove your point, you stand in front of a Chapman fastball and if it hits below your head, then you call tell us if it qualifies as a beanball!

      • yahmule - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:38 AM

        I’m going to start calling beanballs “skullwarmers” and ordinary HBP “leathergrams” and that’s what those things are called now. Deal with it.

    • itsabergthing - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      Doesn’t seem fair at all… No Gibson or Delgado may make Arizona a better team.

      • dsaverno - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM

        meant for sabes up there.

    • dsaverno - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      and Tony Conigliaro looks at you and shakes his head

      • tearlw - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:15 PM

        “shakes his head”? Too soon man, too soon.

  6. jm91rs - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    Another example of how letting players police themselves and enforce the unwritten rules is always the best solution. /s

  7. ctony1216 - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Other sports leagues protect their star players from headhunters. MLB doesn’t. MLB looks the other way when players are used as targets for vendettas. Can’t be good for the game.

  8. sandpiperair - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    My prediction is that he won’t be out as long as Ellsbury was when he had broken ribs.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      Well, McCutcheon’s team medical people discovered the broken rib within three months of it happening, so he already has the upper hand there. Hopefully Cutch’s teammates won’t be talking to the press about how “soft” he is for sitting out with a broken rib, which would be another comparative advantage over Ellsbury’s situation.

  9. mlbfan8898 - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    I didn’t realize you are all doctors and found the cause of the rib breaking. You guys have amazing medical knowledge.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      Thanks. Learned everything from Acme “How to be a Doctor” kit.

      • chinahand11 - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        I learned mine from the Idiot’s Guide in Barnes and Noble.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      Mine’s from my iDoctor iPhone app. Ironically, Steve Jobs listened to Deep-Whacked Chopra types instead.

  10. Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    This report doesn’t make any sense unless McCutcheon has unique morphology. Costochondral joints are the anterior joint between ribs and the cartilage that connects them to the sternum, only the first 10 ribs make these attachments having cartilage associated with those joints. The 11th rib is a floating rib, having no such anterior attachment. In addition any, costochondral injury is anterior…hard to break that when getting hit in the back with a pitch.

    • CyclePower - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      I suppose it makes sense if you don’t try to directly attribute it to being hit by Delgado’s pitch. Cat Food had an alternate explanation – he over-swung at a ball. Although we can’t yet know this is the case with any certainty, it seems, on the surface, a little more plausible than the blunt force trauma from a pitch.

      • blacksables - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        How do other players get oblique injuries? They don’t all get “hit” in the ribs.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      Actually @CyclePower, either an overswing or a “violently” stopped checked swing makes a fair amount of sense. Per @geoknows below, and my mentioning Jack Clark’s rib head separation above, I had one of those. And, yes, rib injuries hurt, even if actual damage isn’t an issue.

  11. tigersfandan - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    How can one confuse a broken rib with an oblique strain?

    • bisonaudit - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      I’d speculate that the symptoms present similarly.

      • geoknows - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        He grabbed his side just above the waist, not his sternum, so the costochondrial joint seems odd and not like an oblique to me. Still, I’ve broken a rib before and had no clue how I did it. And yeah, it really hurts.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      In the words of my father, “Stand up and I’ll show you!” (He was kidding of course when he said it haha).

      It’s not the rib itself, but the cartilage between the ribs. The 11th rib is towards the very bottom of the rib cage so it stands to reason that a pain like that could feel like an oblique.

    • wvucolumbus - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      It’s actually very easy since initial radiographs came back “negative”.

      They likely conducted a CT scan following this test to ensure no bone involvement… which they found the fracture.

      An “oblique strain” is most likely an “diagnosis of exclusion” meaning that it’s “not a T11 fracture, it’s not a costal cartilage issue, therefore, it must be __________ (in this case __________ being an oblique strain”.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      My doctor misdiagnosed Lyme’s disease as mononucleosis. Doctors are far from perfect. Who isn’t?

  12. florida76 - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    Disappointing news to be sure, to see one of baseball’s best players sidelined in this fashion. The Pirates had contended for most of the season, with the NL Central up for grabs, and maybe more. Jonah Keri’s preseason assertion the Bucs were headed for irrelevance just proved to be false. While the club will likely fade during the 4-6 weeks McCutchen is out, the future remains bright for this storied franchise.

    • infieldhit - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:36 PM

      I feel like this should’ve ended with “Back to you in the studio!”

  13. downvotesforeveryone - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    Kirk Gibson is rubbing his nipples as he reads this.

    • 6superbowls - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      Kirk Gibson is a whacked out caveman that needs to be put out to pasture like Dusty Baker was the end of last season.

  14. edavidberg - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    You guys do realize that they knocked Goldschmidt out for the season?

    It may seem barbaric but teams need to take a stand when their guys get plunked. Yes, hitting Goldschmidt was not intentional, but pitching him inside surely was. Pitchers need to be precise when doing and retaliation helps ensure they do.

    It is a shame that two of the top 5 hitters in the game are on the shelf because of HBP.

    • dsaverno - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:25 PM

      no, no, no. Pitching inside, is by definition, half of the plate. And, gee, because every pitch is not a strike, sometimes the ball misses inside. If it misses inside by too much, the batter gets hit. It happens.

      But following something unintentional that could cause an injury with something intentional that could cause an injury is misguided at best, and criminal at worst. That’s like intentional tripping the guy on the plane, given the chance, that you accidentally tripped over on your way back to the bathroom.

      • bisonaudit - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM

        Also, Arizona broke the first rule of fight club.

      • edavidberg - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        What are you talking about, inside is by definition inside the plate? The whole point of pitching is to hit the corners.

        The reason every team retaliates is because guys can get hurt. It acts as a deterrent.

        Maybe Frieri will be a little more careful next time.

    • fifthstarter - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      Wrong. Throwing baseballs at people on purpose is not okay.

      • pappageorgio - Aug 5, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        I think many on here would be better served watching women’s tennis or golf.

        Not a fan of either team so I really don’t care but I know that People love to hate on Gibson. “Beaning” (yeah…I said BEANING) someone after their pitcher tried to pitch way inside and hurt your best player is not unacceptable. As was stated above, it’s a semi-effective way of teams policing themselves.

        Hate on Gibson because he’s a jerk or a bad coach but not for this. All that stuff he and the GM said about hitting guys is the way it is. But people get all squeamish about it because he told the truth in an interview.

        Professional athletes are big boys and not china dolls.

      • fifthstarter - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

        If you enjoy seeing people get injured perhaps you would be better served watching football.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      You do realize that it would be very hard for the semi-wild Fieri to aim for Goldschmidt’s hand, don’t you?

      • edavidberg - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        Maybe he shouldn’t be pitching inside then.

        Virtually every team in the majors will retaliate in situations such as this. It’s not just Kirk Gibson.

    • illuminancer - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:41 PM


      Paul Maholm broke Brandon Belt’s thumb and causing him to miss two months and derailing what was looking like his breakout year. Because there was no question that it was an accident, even though it was the Dodgers knocking out a Giants player (on a pitch that was going toward his head), there was no retaliation.

      And now the Dbacks–same team that whined last year that Kennedy accidentally hit Puig in the head–is now arguing in favor of retaliation even when an HBP was clearly not intentional, and McCutchen ssaid flat-out that he was expecting retaliation, but the way that it was done (9th inning, Dbacks losing, after a slider) was bush league. If you’re going to stand on the unwritten rules, at least make sure you’re following them.

  15. wvucolumbus - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    Many on here are accurately stating that the costal cartilage connects the ribs to the cartilage that attaches to the sternum (“breast bone”) from ribs 1-10. However, the 11th rib is a “floating rib” without an anterior attachment. The rib ends in the muscle of the body wall. The cartilaginous tip of the rib is what was likely “avulsed”.

    Full disclosure: I am a Pirate fan.

    I just checked out the replay of the HBP and the baseball hits Cutch on the left side (side of injury) at the lower thoracic spine (area of 10th-12th ribs).

    In saying this, there is no way to conclusively know whether the HBP contributed to the injury, but it also cannot be ruled out given the photo evidence.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:46 PM

      You’re looking at a different replay than I am, or else Cutch is one very funkily built dude. The replay I see, he’s hit on the top of his left-hand number “2.” Normal people don’t have floating ribs anywhere near that high, not on the back side rather than the chest side.

      • dsaverno - Aug 5, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        In that replay, around the 50 second mark, it looks like he got hit below the twos kind of in between them. And he immediately grabs for the small of the back. The real-time replay does look like he got higher.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        I looked at the link above, about Montero allegedly deliberately calling for that pitch. Looked again after Pirates fans started commenting. Still looks like Cutch got hit at the top of the left “2.”

  16. ranoversquarells - Aug 5, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    Poor guy. Hoping for speedy recovery

  17. drewsylvania - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    So much for the stack of BS called “no one gets injured if it isn’t a beanball”.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:07 PM


  18. gargamelsmentor - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    The Holiday Inn Express was crowded last night.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      Which one?

  19. mungman69 - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    And I thought that the football bloggers were strange.

  20. cincinata - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    This is very bad news for the Pirates. I think this will give the Reds a chance to close in on the Brewers. I don’t think the Pirates can win it without Andrew. Anyway, with the Reds pitching, we should be able to overtake the cards in the next 10-12 days or so. They are having a lot of problems with the staff there. It seems that Wainwright has one good game and then one bad. Cueto on the other hand is hot and almost unbeatable. Then look for the Reds to make a run at the Brew Crew. Now with Garza out, they are going to have some problems on the mound. I am not hopeful for Votto this year, but Brandon is coming back in about two weeks. I think the Reds are looking good for the rest of he year.

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