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Tag:Clint Hurdle
Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:29 pm
 

Burnett joins Pirates, creates competition



A.J. BurnettBy C. Trent Rosecrans


The Pittsburgh Pirates rarely cause a stir in the national media -- but plenty of people were in Bradenton on Monday to see newest Pirates A.J. Burnett throw his first side session of the spring.

Burnett, officially traded from the Yankees to the Pirates on Sunday, reported to Pirates camp on Monday. To make room for Burnett, the Pirates placed Rule 5 selection Gustavo Nunez on the 60-day disabled list with a right ankle injury.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, about a dozen reporters spoke to Burnett before the start of Monday's workout. While that number pales in comparison to the media horde that follows the Yankees, it's a pretty sizable scrum for the Pirates.

"It's going to be a fresh start," Burnett said, according to Biertempfel. "It's going to be fun. I'm back in the National League where I can hit and bunt and get the joy back into the game."

Burnett, 35, said he learned from his three seasons with the Yankees -- "one thing I can take from my time in New York is I'll never back down from anything."

With Burnett in camp, the Pirates have six starters for five spots in the rotation. Burnett and fellow new Pirate Erik Bedard will certainly make the rotation. Also involved in the rotation battle are Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens. The team also has Brad Lincoln, as well as non-roster invitees Jo-Jo Reyes and Daniel Cabrera.

"One of the signs of a club getting better is when your decisions get tougher as you move forward," manager Clint Hurdle told reporters (again, via Biertemfel at the Tribune-Review). "We're going to put people on the mound, let them pitch, and it will all shape itself up."

McDonald and Morton are likely to be in the rotation with the new guys, while Correia and Karstens may be battling it out for the last spot.

Correia was an All-Star last season, but the 31-year-old right-hander made the team on the strength of his 11 wins in the first-half of the season and despite a 4.01 ERA. He was 1-4 with a 7.23 ERA in the second half of the season.

Karstens, 29, was 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA last season.

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Posted on: September 12, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 5:17 pm
 

How blockbusters explain Manager of the Year

Kirk Gibson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated came up with what he calls the "Movie Plus-Minus" -- it's a stat he uses to rank movies. It's simply this: how much he expected to like a movie versus how much he actually liked a movie. It's how a good movie can still be seen as bad, because expectations were too high -- or how a bad movie can actually be good. Anyway it's all about the expectations in judging the experience, if you don't expect much and it turns out to be good you have a more favorable impression than maybe a movie that you expect to be pretty good and turns out to be about what you expected, even if that movie is much better in a vacuum.

That's exactly how it seems that the Manager of the Year Award in baseball is awarded. Manager of the Year is usually an easy formula:

(Wins) - (Expected wins) = MoY total.

The highest number of MoY gives you the hardware.

Last year nobody expected anything out of the San Diego Padres, yet they nearly won their division. So little was expected that it didn't even matter that the Giants won the division or the Padres piddled away a lead at the end, they were in it and that was enough for the voters to make Bud Black the winner. In the American League, Terry Francona may have done his best managing in 2010, but because he finished third and the Red Sox are expected to make the playoffs every year, he finished fourth in the voting with no first-place votes. Instead it was Ron Gardenhire, followed by Ron Washington and Joe Maddon.

The likely winner in the National League this year? Well, that's easy. Kirk Gibson is going to be the overwhelming, perhaps unanimous, winner because nobody expected the Diamondbacks to contend, and here they are. Manny Acta and Maddon, whose teams were picked to make the playoffs by just about nobody, are frontrunners for this year's award in the American League.

So which managers scored high on the Movie Plus-Minus? Let's look at this summer's blockbusters and who their managerial equivalents:

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson as Rise of the Planet of the Apes: In April, it sounded ridiculous -- another Plaent of the Apes reboot? Didn't anyone see Tim Burton's attempt? This was a bad idea. A horrible idea. And that's what it looked like in Arizona, where the team started the season with Armando Galarraga and Barry Enright in the rotation. How about Russell Branyan and Melvin Mora. Geoff Blum? But like Gibson, Apes director Rupert Wyatt made all the right moves, making the ridiculous exciting and harnessing the energy and genius of his enigmatic star (James Franco and Justin Upton). While it may not be the best movie or take home either an Oscar or a World Series title, it certainly had the highest Movie Plus-Minus and Gibson will take home some hardware, even if his team doesn't.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke as X-Men: First Class: The franchise has had its hits, but stumbled in its last outing (X-Men: The Last Stand and 2010). Back with a new focus (the origin story for the movie and pitching for the Brewers), the movie not only lived up to tempered expectations, it exceeded them -- just like the Brewers. A thoroughly enjoyable season for the Brewers and a fun movie, both will be punished because there were decent expectations for the movie and the season, even if they delivered the goods. As a bonus, you can also use Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to link X-Men First Class and Roenicke -- Roenicke manages Ryan Braun, who was in one of the world's worst commercials with Marissa Miller, who was on Entourage with Kevin Connolly, who was in Beyond All Boundaries with Bacon, the bad guy in X-Men: First Class.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle as Green Lantern: Neither ended up being being good, but compared to expectations, it was an Oscar and a World Series. If you weren't scared off by the words "Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan", you certainly were when you heard about the CGI suit. Expectations were incredibly low, just as they were in Pittsburgh (and after 18 losing seasons, why not?). That said, there were some bright spots -- the suit wasn't anywhere near as bad as expected and there was a sort of tongue-in-cheek nod to superhero cliches in the movie, while Andrew McCutchen is a superhero himself. Both had a  decent quick start, but in the end, both suffered as time went on and some concepts (a ring given to some dude by an alien, or Kevin Correia as an All-Star), proved too ridiculous for anyone to fully get behind the movie -- or the Pirates. In the end, though, you'll remember it as "not that bad" even if the Pirates do record their 19th consecutive losing season, but Hurdle will likely have a positive MoY score.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi as Super 8: You figured it would be good -- it was from J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, there was plenty of money behind it. Expectations are always high for the Yankees and neither Spielberg nor Abrams are strangers to hype. A solid leading man (Kyle Chandler, Derek Jeter) and surprising performances from others thrust into lead roles (the kids in the movie and the not-quite-kids like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia in the Yankees' rotation), made it a great summer. While some expectations can never be met, the Yankees and Super 8 got the job done. Of course, rarely are awards given for merely meeting expectations.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: Everyone knew the story coming in -- Harry would defeat Voldemort and the trio of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels would prove as unbeatable as the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and Cloak of Invisibility. It was great fun to watch, but the source material was handed to director David Yates by J.K. Rowling, just as Ruben Amaro Jr. and Pat Gillick gave Manuel this pitching and roster. Dismissed as just a press-button manager or director, the film succeeded, but those charged with doing so will have their role in making it so diminished because the perception is that it would be difficult to screw up the hand that was dealt.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy as Cowboys and Aliens: An excellent cast, a director with a good track record, beloved source material and, well, in the end it wasn't a hit.

Astros manager Brad Mills as The Smurfs: You expected it to be bad, but maybe not this bad.

Now, it'll just be interesting to see if Moneyball lives up to Art Howe's managing.

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Pepper: Hurdle responds to Bochy comments



Barry Zito seeks his third straight win since coming off the DL while Jered Weaver looks to keep his hot streak going. Eye on Baseball Blogger Matt Snyder joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss those storylines and more in this edition of Baseball Today.

By Evan Brunell


ALL-STAR CRITICISM: Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn't happy about criticism that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and Marlins manager Jack McKeon leveled about his choices on who made the All-Star roster. Hurdle was annoyed that Andrew McCutchen hadn't made the team while McKeon questioned the selection of Bochy's player in Tim Lincecum.

Well, Hurdle fired back after hearing Bochy's comments, specifically that Hurdle and McKeon never lobbied for their players while other managers did, so how can they speak out against the selections?

"I don't think lobbying is a part of what you do in that position," said Hurdle, who has experience with the All-Star Game, managing it in 2008 when he represented the Rockies. "He's earned that opportunity by winning the National League championship. I just have never lobbied, and I never got any calls from any other managers lobbying the year I did it."

Hurdle did apologize if his comments were hurtful to Bochy.

"I have the most professional respect for Boch," Hurdle said. "He's a better manager than I'll ever be. My feelings came from the heart. Diplomacy, I guess, wasn't at the top of my list that day, and I can understand that as well.

"I've been on the other end of that. I just know that I took it with a grain of salt, and he felt he made the best decision for the National League because that's his job to represent. I wish the National League nothing but the most success that we go out and win the game.

"We've known each other back to when we were 16 years old. I can understand he's disappointed in what I had to say. I can deal with that."

McCutchen still has a chance to get on the roster as Ryan Braun from Milwaukee is hobbled by an inflamed tendon, and if he cannot play this weekend, will pull out of the game. (MLB.com)

ALL-STAR INVITE: Albert Pujols says he would be honored to go to the All-Star Game should he be selected as a replacement. Pujols missed his chance at going to the game thanks to his wrist injury, but could still squeak in as players pull out because of injuries or other reasons. It's possible Pujols could replace Braun. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

DODGER DEBACLE: More information in the saga that just won't go away. MLB has filed a motion that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt should not have the right to see various documents that McCourt is requesting, alleging that releasing the documents would turn the bankruptcy court hearing into "a multi-ringed sideshow of mini-trials on his personal disputes." (Los Angeles Times)

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Davey Johnson has never ordered a suicide squeeze, per his own recollections. That changed Wednesday night for the Nationals. Wilson Ramos dropped a successful bunt, allowing Mike Morse to cross the plate with what turned out to be the winning run. (CSN Washington)

WHAT EYE PROBLEM? Mike Stanton visited an ophthalmologist Wednesday and received eye drops to combat an eye infection that has sent him spiraling into a slump. He's received eye drops and apparently they worked as he slammed a walk-off home run against the Phillies on Wednesday night to give the Marlins a victory. (MLB.com)

YOU'RE NO PUJOLS: Apparently Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo is hoping to pull an Albert Pujols and get back on the field earlier than expected. After breaking his left thumb and staring at a diagnosis of eight-to-10 weeks out, Choo is telling friends he believes he can be back in early August. Given how fast Pujols returned, I suppose you can't rule it out, but ... well, don't go wagering on an early Choo return. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

YEAH AND NO: That was the Dodgers' Andre Ethier's answer when asked if he was pleased with his performance so far. Hitting a career-high .317 is great, but Ethier's seven home runs are a sudden loss of power for someone who slammed 31 two seasons ago. (Los Angeles Times)

WORKHORSE: Justin Verlander has made 37 consecutive starts of 100-plus pitches, which is tops in baseball all the way back to 1999, and probably a bit farther back, too. Second place boasts Felix Hernandez at 32 consecutive games from 2009-10, while Randy Johnson pops up multiple times. (Baseball-Reference)

UNSAVORY COMPARISON: Just three months into Jayson Werth's massive seven-year deal with Washington, and he's already being compared to another player who was a colossal bust on his own big deal, not that it was his fault for the team throwing ill-advised money at him. "Him" is Alfonso Soriano, and that's definitely company Werth does not want to be associated with. (Washington Post)

JONES HURTING: Chipper Jones admitted he shouldn't have played Tuesday after he received a cortisone shot for a meniscus tear as he is trying to avoid surgery. “I just didn’t feel right [Tuesday]," he said. "Not having that first step quickness, you favor it. It’s hard to stay on back of it right-handed, swinging the bat. Just one of those things we’ve got to continue to monitor and deal with.” For his part, Jones says he was perfectly fine for Wednesday's game. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

FIGGINS BENCHED: Finally. Chone Figgins has been benched and has easily become one of the largest albatrosses in the game. Figgin's replacement is Kyle Seager, who was promoted from the minors and will stay at third for the foreseeable future. (Seattle Times)

BARGAIN: Who were the best bargains signed as free agents in the winter? There are some worthy candidates in Bartolo Colon, Erik Bedard, Ryan Vogelsong and Brandon McCarthy. Fine seasons, all. But the best bargain is another pitcher, Phil Humber. Hard to disagree. (MLB Daily Dish)

CRAWFORD EN ROUTE: The Red Sox can't wait to get Carl Crawford back, and it looks as if that will happen after the first series back, which is in Tropicana Field. The Sox want to avoid Crawford playing on artificial turf right away, so a July 18 return in Baltimore appears likely (Providence Journal)

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Bochy upset at Hurdle, McKeon criticism

McCutchenBy Evan Brunell

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle says Bruce Bochy, the manager for the NL All-Star team thanks to winning the World Series with the Giants last season, "whiffed" on not selecting Andrew McCutchen (pictured) to the team.

New Marlins skipper Jack McKeon also spoke out, wondering how Bochy could have justified taking Tim Lincecum with a 6-7 record. (Hint to Jack: His ERA is 3.14, and he's pitched better than that figure.)

Understandably, Bochy is a bit bruised from being called out.

“What’s bothered me are some comments made from other managers because now you start getting a little personal and [you] disparage other players,’’ Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News. “I don’t think that’s what the game is about.”

Bochy also added that he never heard from Hurdle or McKeon before selecting the team, but other managers called to lobby for their players. "The two that are complaining I’ve known for 25 years," Bochy said. "I didn’t hear from them. Sure, that bothers me.”

The Giants skipper, who opted to take Mets right-fielder Carlos Beltran with his "at-large" pick instead of McCutchen, called the Pirates star a "great young player," but added that the 24-year-old's recent hitting streak came too late. McCutchen ended April with a .219/.330/.417 line, but his OPS has gone up in each month since. He's currently hitting .291/.390/.494 with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases, absolutely worthy of selection.

“I could go to every team and there’s a guy who didn’t make it and has the numbers to be there,’’ Bochy said. “You don’t want to snub anybody.”

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Hurdle upset with McCutchen's snub

Clint Hurdle

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wasn't happy about Andrew McCutchen's All-Star snub and made sure everyone knew about before Monday's game against the Astros.

John Grupp of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review passes along Hurdle's tirade:

"I know the challenges that come from [picking an All-Star team]," said Hurdle, who managed the NL All-Star team in 2008. "I sat in that chair. Well, I'm going to take this opportunity and be one of those managers and be disappointed in the entire process. The MLB whiffed. That he's not one of the guys getting in this little vote thing, getting into play in that. They whiffed on that. That's an absolute whiff."

"Look at the numbers he has," Hurdle said. "You can look at metrics. You can look at straight batting average, OPS, stolen bases. Whatever you want to look at, he's an All-Star.

"The players, they whiffed. Everybody whiffed on this one for me, in Andrew's case. Being his manager, I'm going to take my 42 seconds of soap box and remind everybody what a whiff-job they did with him not being on the All-Star team."

McCutchen entered Monday with a slash line of .294/.393/.498 with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases. He's absolutely one of the best players in the National League, and not just outfielders.

The fans voted for the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, Brewers' Ryan Braun and Cardinals' Lance Berkman, while the players added St. Louis' Matt Holliday, Cincinnati's Jay Bruce and Houston's Hunter Pence. National League manager Bruce Bochy added Carlos Beltran of the Mets and Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks. Upton was the Diamondbacks' lone representative. 

The five players on the Final Vote ballot are the Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, Diamondbacks right-hander Ian Kennedy, Nationals first baseman Mike Morse and Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.

McCutchen is second in WAR (3.7) among NL outfielders according to Baseball-Reference.com and sixth among NL outfielders in OPS (.892) and fifth in OPS+ (150).

In the end, Hurdle knows exactly the reason McCutchen was overlooked and pointed that out as well -- "The name on the front of the jersey has some challenges with it," Hurdle said. "We're out to knock them down. That has been our goal since the start of the season. This is another one we've faced and we'll knock this one down as well."

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Pepper: Oswalt hints he may be done

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Just why did Jim Riggleman ditch his job? CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss Riggleman, Ubaldo Jimenez and more. Check it out.

OSWALT END?: It's not just that Roy Oswalt is hurt -- leaving Thursday's start with the Cardinals after just two innings -- but that he may have pitched his last game ever.

Oswalt will not only likely miss his next start, he could also be done. He's already hinted at retirement and with a back injury, it may not be worth it for Oswalt to come back.

After Thursday's outing, Oswalt sounded anything but confident in his return. David Hale of the News Journal has a full transcript of Oswalt's postgame comments, and they don't sound like the comments of someone who is confident it'll be an easy road back.

Heres' the question and answer that says it all to me:

Q: Do you allow yourself to think about your career at this point?

A: I've had a pretty good one.

That sounds like someone who is content with walking away if he gets bad news soon.

We may know more Monday after his scheduled MRI.

HOT SEAT: Edwin Rodriguez didn't last a full calendar year as the Marlins manager and the Cubs' Mike Quade could follow that lead. Quade's on the hot seat (even if general manager Jim Hendry's seat should be hotter). [Chicago Tribune]

LI'L' GOOSE: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle compared closer Joel Hanrahan to Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, and after stifling a laugh, John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times takes a look at the comparison and sees some parallels.

SCOUTING DARVISH: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was scheduled to see Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish's start on Friday. Darvish may be the top free-agent pitcher this season if he comes to the United States, as expected. The Braves and Twins reportedly had scouts at his last start, when he picked up just his second loss of the season. It was one of his worst starts of the season and he still gave up just one earned run, allowing nine hits and striking out 10 in eight innings. [YakyuBaka.com]

A'S OPEN TO DEAL: The sharks are circling in Oakland, as scouts have been checking out outfielder Josh Willingham, infielder Mark Ellis and left-handed relievers Craig Breslow and Brian Fuentes. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER LOOK: Diamondbacks pitcher Josh Collmenter, he of the tomahawk motion, looks forward to facing teams another time so he can prove he's more than a gimmick pitcher. We'll see. [MLB.com]

NICE RIDE: The Toledo Mud Hens players are going to miss Brandon Inge, who was activated by the Tigers on Thursday. During his rehab trip with Detroit's Triple-A team, Inge sprung for a limo for several players to take them from Louisville, Ky., to Columbus, Ohio, skipping the planned bus ride. [Detroit News]

DEJA VU: A St. Louis ace 1-7 through June? (Well, now 2-7 after Thursday night's 2-7) It's been done before. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch  compares Chris Carpenter's 1-7 start to that of John Tudor's 26 years ago. 

CABRERA'S CASE POSTPONED: The hearing for Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera's DUI arrest has been postponed again and rescheduled for July 12. That's the day of the All-Star Game. Cabrera, however, isn't required to be present for this hearing, though, so he can still go to the All-Star Game. [Detroit News]

NO DECISION: Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he'd prefer not to negotiate during the season (and that doesn't make Jim Riggleman happy), but said it's not a rule. Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm has said he'd like to sign an extension to stay in Pittsburgh. [MLB.com]

GARDNER'S D: A cool story here from ESPNNewYork.com's Mark Simon looking at the defense of Brett Gardner by talking to scouts, players and stats folks. 

BUCCO FEVER: If you haven't noticed, the Pirates (yes, the team in Pittsburgh) are in a pennant race. Sure, it's not even July yet, but we're talking the Pirates. The folks in Pittsburgh are beginning to take notice. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

LAWRIE DELAYED: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was all but set to be called up at the beginning of the month, but before he could get the call, he was hit by a pitch and broke his left hand. Now he's having trouble gripping the bat and may not be ready until August. [CBCSports.ca]

FIGGINS DILEMMA: If you're following the Mariners, there's plenty of positives around the team -- including a record just a game under .500. But there's one big concern, Chone Figgins. The question for the Mariners is what to do with Figgins, who has two years and $17 million left on his contract. [Seattle Times]

BROXTON'S RETURN: Even when Jonathan Broxton comes off the disabled list, he won't automatically return to closing for the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly said. [Los Angeles Times]

RETURN OF THE SPITTER: Here's an interesting theory (that I'm pretty sure I don't buy, but still interesting to think about) from Mat Kovach of the Hardball Times -- is the rise of pitching because of the return of the spitball?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 8, 2011 6:13 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 8:38 pm
 

Rangers fire hitting coach

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Thad BosleyForget the fact that the Rangers came into Wednesday's game with the fourth-best on-base plus slugging in the majors at .760 or have scored more runs than all but three American League teams. Rangers hitting coach Thad Bosley "has been relieved of his duties," according to a team press release.

Bosley was in his first year as the team's hitting coach, replacing Clint Hurdle, who left to take the manager spot in Pittsburgh.

Bosley will be replaced by Scott Coolbaugh, who was the hitting coach at the team's Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock, Texas.

I'm interested to see where this story goes from here, because it wouldn't seem on-field performance was the problem for Bosley and first-place Rangers.

Here's what Josh Hamilton had to say about the move, via Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

"Thad was a good guy," Hamilton said. "He had a good heart. He just didn't fit with us. He's professional the way he approaches the game and the way he approaches teaching the game. It just didn't mesh with our clubhouse."

Hamilton said the biggest difference in Bosley and the other hitting coaches the Rangers have had was in his style of communication.

"A lot of it was communication," Hamilton said. "There was not a lot there. You'd like to have somebody that knows when to back off, when to approach, gets what they want to get across to you but find out your personality and how to get it across to you. Those things just didn't happen the way it needed to."

A source tells CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler that Bosley's attempts to change Hamilton's approach at the plate played a part in the dismissal.

According to the Dallas Morning News's Evan Grant, it wasn't just Hamilton who had problems with Bosley. From Grant's blog:

The problem, however, may be more over communication than philosophy. While the Rangers last two hitting coaches - Rudy Jaramillo and Hurdle - were eager to communicate with players, Bosley was much more reserved. That quietness could be perceived as being aloof or disconnected.

And there had been some recent confrontations with players. Perhaps the most serious of those was an incident between Bosley and struggling catcher Yorvit Torrealba. According to multiple sources, Torrealba asked in Philadelphia if he could take some extra batting practice swings since pitcher Colby Lewis declined to participate in batting practice on the day he was pitching. It was, according to sources, agreed upon that Torrealba could hit in two different groups. But when he stepped in with the second group, sources said, Bosley told him he was not supposed to take the additional swings. Torrealba then left the field. An argument between the two ensued in the clubhouse.

It was, according to club sources, one of a number of disagreements with other players, ranging from veterans to young players.

Coolbaugh is in his fifth season in the Rangers system. He was drafted by Texas in 1987 out of the University of Texas and played for the Rangers, Padres and Cardinals, as well as teams in Japan in Korea.

Bosley was the A's hitting coach from 1999-2003, serving on the same staff as Rangers manager Ron Washington in Oakland.

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Posted on: April 26, 2011 12:23 am
 

Hurdle defends aggressive play

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Clint HurdleClint Hurdle was still defending his player and third base coach a day after Andrew McCutchen was thrown out to end Sunday's loss to the Nationals.

While it was certainly an unconventional play to test Jayson Werth's arm by tagging up on a fly ball down three runs with two out in the ninth, Hurdle said it's exactly what he wants his team to play.

"We're not a conventional team," Hurdle said on Monday according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "That book that everybody reads/ Show me a copy, I'll read it with you. … That book, if you look at the foreword, it says, 'This is a manager's cover-his-backside book. If you stick to this book, you can never be second-guessed. Merry Christmas.' That more or less, is what it's for. My opinion."

I love it.

The book says McCutchen's run was meaningless down three -- and it probably was. But it was a way to get just a little bit closer, to put more pressure on the Nationals. It didn't work, but it was aggressive and used an advantage the Pirates do have -- McCutchen's speed -- to put pressure on the Nationals.

"I expected him to go," Hurdle said. "I would have been more shocked if he hadn't gone. Because one thing I told [third base coach] Nick [Leyva] in spring training is I don't ever want to wonder if he'd have been safe."

That kind of aggressive play is one of the things that have made the Pirates fun to watch this season -- something you haven't been able to say much in the past. The team has some legitimate young talent and can only get better by stretching the limits of their game. Hurdle is empowering them and he's not afraid to take the heat. He took it for Sunday's so-called "blunder" but he'll be responsible when it works the next time.

Playing by the book is boring -- and so often you see silly sacrifice bunts and other such tactics just because it is safe and there's no second-guessing. The Pirates were unlikely to win that game anyway, but Hurdle took a shot. And that's what makes this game great.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com