The players liked what they heard.
“His attitude and the passion for the game that he’s brought to this clubhouse has definitely uplifted it. There’s no doubt about that,” said Walker, who hit .296 in 110 games last season.
“His ability to instill confidence in his players, especially as a younger team, it’s something that’s very important for this organization. I think him doing that is going to affect us _ not down the road, but right now and moving forward.”
Labeled a phenom when he was only 20, Hurdle played parts of 10 seasons with the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals before retiring in 1987, never having reached that top billing. He managed six years in the Mets’ minor league system before getting his first managerial shot in the big leagues with Colorado in 2002.
The job he did to help transform a young Rockies team into a contender was one of the reasons Pittsburgh was drawn to him.
Still, the Pirates‘ brain trust had to sell themselves to Hurdle as much as he had to convince owner Bob Nutting, team president Frank Coonelly and general manager Neal Huntington that he was right for Pittsburgh.
“Realistically, I don’t need the money. The job I had last year, 15 minutes after the game I’m out the door and with my family down the road. And, it’s a good team. Well, that was an honor to work there. … It’s the same honor here. They’re just asking a different role out of me.”
He hit .286 with 16 homers, 56 RBIs and 33 stolen bases as a leadoff man last season, but the new manager is searching for ways to create more offense. One possibility is dropping McCutchen in the third spot in the batting order.
“He’s definitely going to keep you on your toes, he’s going to push you, and at the same time he’s going let you know that he’s behind you in every step you take,” McCutchen said.
“He doesn’t big league you in any way. He’s able to pinpoint certain things that we’re going through. … He’s able to just say, ‘I’ve been there before, I know how you feel.’ … He’s an all-around great guy. We have a lot of fun, but at the same time we know when to get serious with him.”View Entire Story
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