Pirates ramping up efforts to hire Clint Hurdle as manager

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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Pirates have “increased efforts” to hire Clint Hurdle as manager.

One source tells Rosenthal that the process is “moving forward at a rapid pace.”

Hurdle, of course, is also a candidate for the Mets’ managerial vacancy. He is considered a favorite for the job along with Terry Collins and Bob Melvin and is expected to get a second interview with new general manager Sandy Alderson in Orlando next week.

Faced with the possibility that they could lose their top candidate to another team, the most likely scenario is that the Pirates told Hurdle that he can have the job if he wants it. Otherwise they’ll just move on.

Hurdle compiled a 534-625 record (.461) over parts of eight seasons as manager of the Rockies, including an unlikely World Series run in 2007. He just finished his first season as hitting coach with the Rangers.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.