Texas Rangers hitting coach and former Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle appears to be the primary candidate for the Pittsburgh Pirates managerial job. Hurdle was in Pittsburgh Wednesday night and Thursday, going through the interview process.
The meeting with Hurdle ended a two-week halt in the Pirates' managerial search. The Pirates interviewed seven candidates in early October and then waited for the Rangers to complete postseason play so they could talk to Hurdle. The Rangers won the AL pennant, but then lost in five games in the World Series to San Francisco.
The World Series ended on Tuesday.
Pirates officials confirmed earlier in the week that they had narrowed the list of candidates to Hurdle and Jeff Banister, who has spent 25 years in the Pirates organization. He was recently the minor-league field coordinator for eight years before assuming the role of bench coach in August.
The fact the Pirates would wait so long to talk to Hurdle underscores their interest in Hurdle, who managed the Rockies for seven years and oversaw a franchise development similar to what the Pirates feel is ahead of them. Pittsburgh had the youngest roster in the big leagues in last season.
While Hurdle has been open about a desire to manage again, he also has been upbeat about his job in Texas, and those close to Hurdle said he would have to be convinced of the organizational commitment of any team he would agree to manage.
Hurdle originally joined the Rockies in 1994 as the minor league hitting coach, then became the big-league hitting coach for Don Baylor in 1997. He remained in that position with managers Jim Leyland and Buddy Bell, eventually replacing Bell in 2002 with the Rockies in the midst of a major rebuilding.
Hurdle oversaw the development of a young nucleus that won the NL pennant in 2007, eventually losing to Boston in the World Series. Hurdle was let go with the team struggling in late May of2009.
He joined Texas as a hitting coach for the 2010 season, turning down an offer to remain with the Rockies in a front office capacity and one to handle on-air duties with MLB Network, and was praised by the Rangers for the work he did in a season that saw the Rangers win their first AL pennant.
He also managed in the New York Mets minor league system before joining the Rockies. The first-round draft choice of Kansas City in 1975, Hurdle spent parts of 10 seasons in the big leagues with the Royals, Cincinnati, the Mets and St. Louis.
— Tracy Ringolsby