The Pirates can finally get their managerial search going

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Though the Pirates have interviewed a ton of people for their vacant manager’s job, the only really inspiring one of the lot — John Gibbons — has opted out, preferring to remain the Royals’ bench coach.  The thinking  has been that those guys were all just fallbacks, and that Pittsburgh had its heart set on someone else — Rangers’ bench coach Clint Hurdle — who wasn’t available.  Now that the Rangers season is over, he is available, and it’s being reported that the Bucs expect to call on him soon.

I like Hurdle. I don’t think he was responsible for the Rockies’ late 2007 run that everyone gave him credit forb, but I don’t think he was responsible for that early 2009 swoon that got him fired either.  The Rockies are a streaky bunch, we’ve learned, both with and without Hurdle. He did about as good a job in Colorado as one could expect given the talent at any given time.

I don’t think anyone can do much to help the Pirates’ situation in the short term, but Hurdle is a steady guy and would be about the best viable choice for the Pirates to make.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.