Pirates interview Clint Hurdle for managerial opening

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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.”

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.