Pirates narrow manager search to Clint Hurdle, Jeff Banister

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Pittsburgh put its manager search on hold until after the World Series in order to interview Texas hitting coach Clint Hurdle, and now Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates are down to Hurdle and in-house candidate Jeff Banister as the finalists for the job.

Banister has spent 25 years in the Pirates’ organization, including eight years as minor league coordinator before becoming John Russell’s bench coach in August. Russell was fired last month.

Hurdle, who managed the Rockies from 2002 to mid-2008, is considered the favorite for the job. He took Colorado to the World Series in 2007, but that was Hurdle’s lone winning season and he finished with an overall record of 534-625 for a .461 winning percentage.

Fernando Rodney gives up walk-off homer to Gary Sanchez

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The Fernando Rodney Experience hasn’t been a good one for the Twins thus far. The veteran closer served up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, erasing a 4-1 lead and blowing his third save in five opportunities.

In the ninth, Didi Gregorius reached on a throwing error by Miguel Sano. Giancarlo Stanton then singled, and Gary Sanchez followed up with a walk-off three-run home run.

Rodney, 41, now sports a 6.75 ERA on the year. He inked a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Twins back in December. The club has an option for next year worth $4.25 million. If things keep going the way they’re going, the Twins aren’t going to want to pick up that option.

The Twins may even want to think about moving Ryan Pressly or Addison Reed into the closer’s role, even if just temporarily. Pressly has been terrific, tossing 13 scoreless innings with 18 strikeouts. Reed has a 2.25 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.