MILWAUKEE -- Andrew McCutchen regards Jackie Robinson Day the way many people regard Christmas Day: It is nice to have a holiday celebrating the human condition, but it is far more meaningful to have a life filled with Christmas spirit.
For McCutchen, every day he puts on the jersey with "Pirates" across the chest is Jackie Robinson Day.
"For myself," said McCutchen, "it's just great to be wearing a Major League uniform when we recognize someone who wore it so meaningfully. When you think about the things he had to overcome to pave the road for players like myself … the appreciation of that never changes."
The Bucs will be on the road, in Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, for Tuesday's observance of Jackie Robinson Day.
The day in that city will be even more meaningful for people who recall that the Queen City is where Hank Aaron hit his 714th homer -- the one that caught Babe Ruth -- on Opening Day 1974, four days prior to passing The Bambino.
The 40th anniversary of Aaron's No. 715 was fervently celebrated last week, an occasion that revisited some of the hardships he had to will his way through, paving some common ground with Robinson a generation earlier.
"Both had to deal with their own things, and both are very integral in what they've meant to the game," McCutchen said. "Jackie Robinson Day is always one I look forward to, for the chance to recognize not only what he did for baseball, but for the role he played in changing history."
Volquez bringing team-first rah-rah attitude
MILWAUKEE -- When he took the mound Saturday night for his second start with the Bucs, Edinson Volquez proved adept at not only pitching, but also at multitasking. He wasn't too busy holding the Brewers to one earned run for 6 1/3 innings to cheerlead and do a little weightlifting.
The weight he lifted was Andrew McCutchen's 190 pounds.
In a 2-2 game during an eventual 3-2 loss, McCutchen had run down Khris Davis' seventh-inning leadoff fly to left-center but had the ball clang off his glove for an error.
On the mound, Volquez waited for the ball to return to him, put his head down and went back to work.
"What you see as most impressive is the mound reaction: He didn't have any," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He just hung in there with it. [His teammates] see that, too. When they see a pitcher [react] because a guy made an error, they're like, 'Whoah, come on now.' But Volquez -- he held serve."
With relief help from Tony Watson later in the inning, Volquez turned away the Brewers, sending that 2-2 tie on to the eighth inning.
"That's what all pitchers want to do," Volquez said. "You can't complain about what happened behind you … or in front of you. Just keep making pitches."
As Volquez was walking out to the mound to start that seventh inning, he crossed paths with Jordy Mercer, who had just lined out to left for the final out in the top of the inning.
Volquez shouted at Mercer, waving a clenched fist at him.
"Nice swing! Good rip!" Volquez shouted at his shortstop.
"Can you believe that? How nice was that," Mercer said, "especially coming from him?"
First number, last word
33: Home runs in day games since the start of the 2012 season by Pedro Alvarez, the most in the National League. Two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera is tops in the Majors with 34.
"'I'm buying time.' I'm being transparent. Why lie to them? They know what I'm doing." -- Hurdle, on what he tells umpires when he goes on the field to buy time for his video-review team to look at a play he may want to challenge.
• Seven of the Pirates' first 11 games were one-run decisions, the most in the Majors. They had a 5-2 record in them entering Sunday's game.
"We've grown into this, and pretty much expect it," Hurdle said of the tight games. "As Peyton Manning once said, 'Pressure is what you feel when you don't know what you're doing.'"
• In the Angels' Saturday night extra-inning loss, Raul Ibanez tied the score with a ninth-inning homer -- his seventh game-tying shot the last three seasons in the seventh or later, tops in the Majors. No. 2 in that department? Alvarez, with six.
• The Bucs are early in a stretch of 20 straight days of games, which lasts until April 29.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.