Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hurdle Extension on Tap Pirates Expected to Give Manager New Deal despite Late Collapses in Past Two Seasons

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hurdle Extension on Tap Pirates Expected to Give Manager New Deal despite Late Collapses in Past Two Seasons

Article excerpt

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates plan to deepen their commitment to manager Clint Hurdle, who helped improve the team's record by 22 wins in two seasons but also oversaw consecutive tumbles from contention.

Hurdle, who is entering the final year of his contract, will receive an extension through 2014 with a club option for 2015, a baseball source said Monday.

Hurdle previously had a club option for 2014. The extension will pull him even with general manager Neal Huntington, who in September 2011 received an extension through 2014 with an option for 2015.

Though he did not speak directly about the extension, Hurdle said he and the Pirates had "early conversations" about his contract.

"I'm not too far ahead of myself right now," he said. "I'm humbled that we're having the conversation."

The deal is expected to be announced later this week. Pirates chairman Bob Nutting will be in Bradenton Wednesday and Thursday for an event at McKechnie Field and to address the team.

"I'm excited," said Clint Barmes, who also played for Hurdle when Hurdle managed the Colorado Rockies. "Especially this early in camp, to hear that they made a move and decided to go in this direction. Obviously very excited for him and his family, but it's good for the city, it's good for all of us."

The Pirates hired Hurdle, 55, to replace John Russell in November 2010. In 2011, the team improved to 72-90 after going 57-105 in 2010. The Pirates were seven games over .500 in late July of that year. Last season, their record reached 16 games over .500 in early August and the team remained in contention for a wild-card playoff spot until late in the season.

Hurdle also was at the helm for two consecutive second-half fades from contention as the streak of losing seasons reached 20 in a row. The Pirates were 51-44 July 19, 2011, but lost 10 games in a row around the trade deadline and went 18-38 in August and September. …

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