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Andrew McCutchen exits early with left rib discomfort

The Pirates' star center fielder has already missed time this month due to a broken rib.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen left after the fifth inning of the Pirates' game against the Cardinals on Tuesday with left rib discomfort, the team announced.

McCutchen has already missed 14 games this month due to a fractured rib he sustained on Aug. 3 against the Diamondbacks. Since his return on Aug. 19, McCutchen is 7-for-28 with three solo home runs in seven games. Even after going 0-for-3 on Tuesday prior to being removed from the game, McCutchen is hitting a robust .307/.403/.539 in 518 plate appearances this season, one that could end with another Most Valuable Player award for the 27-year-old Florida native.

It's unclear exactly when or how McCutchen suffered the injury on Tuesday, but he did slam against the center field wall while making a catch in the third inning. The Pirates replaced McCutchen in the lineup with Jose Tabata, who was recalled to the big leagues on Monday after spending the last two months in Triple-A. Tabata took over in left field and Starling Marte shifted to center to fill McCutchen's spot.

After the game, McCutchen told reporters he expected to play on Wednesday but didn't rule out a day of rest, either.

Pittsburgh entered Tuesday six games behind the Brewers in the NL Central and 1½ games out of the second Wild Card spot, which is currently occupied by the Giants.