McCutchen, a Gold Glove-caliber center-fielder coming off a career-worst defensive performance, said he wasn't consulted when the Pirates' front office decided to move Starling Marte to take over his former position.
"It wasn't an 'ask,'" McCutchen said, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark. "It was more of a 'say.' It was more of a: 'I have to move there.'"
"That was one of the first times that that was something I wanted to go against," he added. "It wasn't something I was ready for or I wanted to do. But as I keep saying that, I'm talking about myself. So I just had to not be as selfish and just accept that that's what I had to do and move over to right."
Throughout his 12 years playing professional baseball, McCutchen has played right field once in the minors in 2006, and has started more than 1,000 games in center.
"Once I got over the fact that I had to move, the more I started to look at it and get some positivity out of it," he said. "And that's one way to look at it. I'm playing at a position and a spot of a guy that you idolize (Roberto Clemente). He set the standard for someone that I would love to be like even half that guy. So it's an honor to be out there playing that position."
The five-time All-Star's future with the Pirates is still up in the air after months of trade rumors. In 2016, McCutchen combined for a career-low .256/.336/.430 line after four straight seasons of top-five MVP consideration.
He won the award in 2013 after hitting.317/.404/.508 and reaching 7.4 WAR.