Pirates’ manager search may be waiting for Clint Hurdle

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Despite wrapping up interviews with various managerial candidates two weeks ago the Pirates have yet to name a replacement for John Russell, which has Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com speculating that they’re waiting for the postseason to end so they can talk to Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle.

Hurdle was the Rockies’ manager from 2002-2009 and took the team to the World Series in 2007, but that was also his lone playoff appearance and his overall record was just 534-625 for a sub par .461 winning percentage.

Ringolsby covered the Rockies for the Rocky Mountain News while Hurdle was manager and clearly thinks very highly of him, writing that he “would seem to fit the Pirates’ needs well” after “elevating the Rockies credibility among sports fans” in Colorado.

Pittsburgh has suffered through 18 straight losing seasons and avoiding a 19th will be tough in 2011, but the Pirates do have a solid nucleus of young talent and probably aren’t as far away from snapping the streak (and perhaps even contending in the NL Central) as most people would assume.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.