The Phillies have ruled out Andrew McCutchen for opening day on March 26th. The team’s decision to have the 33-year-old outfielder open the season on the injured list came less than two weeks after McCutchen said it was his plan to be ready for the season opener. McCutchen said the comments he made represented a mindset of how he needed to think to get through the dreariness of injury rehab.

“You’re coming in every single day and doing the same thing,” he said. “You have to have a motivation and for me, my motivation was telling myself that I will be ready by opening day. That’s going to be my mindset for the rest of spring training.”

McCutchen had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee on June 14, 2019. His recovery isn’t far off schedule, but he hasn’t passed all the physical tests needed to play at a high level. Manager Joe Girardi said he expects the 33-year-old outfielder back sometime in April, and McCutchen is in agreement with his Manager that he needs more time.

“Honestly, I feel like I could play right now if I wanted,” he said at Phillies camp Saturday. “But could I play to the best of my ability? Probably not. I need to be me. I need to be Andrew McCutchen when I’m out there on the field. So, we’re going to keep putting in the work so that I can be that.”

McCutchen is an incredibly important player on the team both with his bat and with his glove. The Phillies are treating his rehabilitation with extreme care, as they should. The last thing The Phillies, McCutchen, or the fans want to see is a setback by having him ready for the opener. He was the second-best in the majors among leadoff men before sustaining his terrible injury last season. He had a .378 on-base percentage.