Hurdle interviews to become Pirates' skipper

Hurdle interviews to become Pirates' skipper

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates formerly interviewed Clint Hurdle for the club's managerial opening on Thursday, marking the first interview conducted by the organization since Oct. 14. It could also be the last.

Hurdle, a former Rockies manager and current hitting coach for the Rangers, was unable to be contacted until after the American League champions were eliminated from the postseason. That happened on Monday, when Texas lost to the Giants in Game 5 of the World Series.

Hurdle was the eighth candidate interviewed by the Pirates for the job most recently held by John Russell. Of the previous seven, only Jeff Banister is still under consideration. Banister spent the final two months of the 2010 season serving as the club's interim bench coach. He has been with the organization in varying roles for 25 years.

Hurdle, 53, spent parts of eight seasons managing the Rockies, who advanced to the World Series under Hurdle in 2007. He took over early in the '02 season and remained in that capacity until being dismissed on May 29, 2009. At that time, he was replaced by Jim Tracy, who managed in Pittsburgh from 2006-07.

The Rockies went a combined 534-625 under Hurdle, who led the club to one winning season in his years with Colorado.

Hurdle began his managerial career in 1988, when he led the Class A St. Lucie Mets. He went on to manage two seasons at the Double-A level and another two years in Triple-A before joining the Rockies in 1994 to serve as the organization's Minor League hitting coordinator. Hurdle was named Colorado's hitting coach in '97.

Hurdle's playing career began when he was drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 1975 First-Year Player Draft. Hurdle made his Major League debut with Kansas City two years later and went on to spend parts of the next four seasons with the Royals.

Before retiring after the 1987 season, Hurdle played for the Reds, Mets and Cardinals. He played five different positions in the Majors and finished with a .259 career batting average.

Though the Pirates have left the door open to additional interviews, it's likely that Hurdle's interview concluded the search process. That would seem to suggest that the Pirates should be ready to make a decision on the hire soon.

If Hurdle is the Pirates' choice, however, there could be one catch. He is widely speculated to be a candidate for the Mets' managerial opening, and if Hurdle wants to pursue an interview with New York, the Pirates may be forced to push back their timetable.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.