Hurdle pushing through hip pain to be with Pirates

Hurdle pushing through hip pain to be with Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The six-month grind of the Pirates' season may be the most physically obvious right now from an unlikely source -- manager Clint Hurdle.

Whenever Hurdle heads to the pitcher's mound to make a switch, or goes to have a discussion with an umpire, there is a limp in the step of the Bucs' skipper -- one that has grown more noticeable as the season has gone on. Hurdle is overdue for a hip replacement, and is set to go under the knife within days after the Pirates' season ends.

Hurdle, who has kept his spirits up about his arthritic hip, said neither he nor doctors thought the issue would worsen as much as it did during the course of the season. Hurdle, 57, said he was not in a position to get surgery before Spring Training, but with the way things have gone, his "plan A turned into plan B, which turned into plan C."

"The experts I've come across," Hurdle said, "I talked to them a while ago. I said 'So where I'm at right now, ... how many people have you ever had with a hip in this situation? How much more can I push through without having the operation?' They said, 'Well, nobody. You should have had the operation two months ago the way this thing has progressed.'"

With the limp and a redesigned chair in his office, Hurdle says he has a "check and balance" system with the people around him both at work and at home, to make sure he is doing his job.

"The one prayer I say when I get up in the morning, is I say, 'Give me the strength and the courage to burden my pain so my pain doesn't become a burden for others,'" Hurdle said. "On the check and balances I'm getting, they could be from a coach, somebody in the front office, if they feel I'm posting up well, I've been consistent with my approach, my attitude and my energy, I just go home and I lay down."

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.