The Pirates’ search for a new manager is picking up all sorts of steam.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, the Bucs interviewed Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle on Thursday in what could be the club’s final managerial interview.
Hurdle enjoyed great success as the Rangers’ hitting coach this season, helping to lead that franchise to its first-ever World Series appearance. He also had a nice run as manager of the Rockies earlier this decade — a run that included a World Series loss in 2007 to the Red Sox.
The Pirates interviewed eight total candidates for their opening this fall and SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that only two finalists remain: Hurdle and Bucs bench coach Jeff Bannister, who is hoping for a promotion.
For what it’s worth, Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com says that Hurdle appears to be the “leading candidate.”
Update (12:58 AM ET): Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija has been diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle. He’ll be shut down for a week. That’s good news for the Giants, considering the alternatives.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.