Two hip surgeries later, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is back in the saddle and ready to roll ahead of the team’s mandatory report date to Spring Training next month in Florida.
Per an MLB.com report, the Buccos’ skipper spoke to fantasy campers recently while at the team’s Spring Training complex, where he’s working on both the team and his own personal recover from the pair of major surgeries.
"“It’s the first time I’ve been feeling pain free in over a year,” Hurdle said. “I got to speak to the [camp] participants and was also able to ramp up my rehab program. I’ll be doing that three times a week at Pirate City, and I’m actually able to exercise to some degree now. And my diet is in a better place.”"
What Hurdle has been able to do with the Pirates since joining the organization ahead of the 2011 season is a true 180. In his first season with the team, he guided the club to a disappointing 72-90 mark. Two years later, the team won 94 games – the highest single-season total since 1992 – the final year of a three-year stretch where the Pirates won at least 90 games in each year.
According to Hurdle, several notable players are already working in Florida ahead of next month – a promising sign for a team that has gotten just small tastes of postseason action in each of the past two years – failing to advance to the National League Championship Series in both 2013 and 2014.
"“Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton, Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Antonio Bastardo are here,” Hurdle said. “I’ve had multiple conversations with Charlie and I’m very optimistic about his workouts [following Sept. 26 surgery on the labrum in right hip].”"
Over the past two seasons, Hurdle has led Pittsburgh to a combined 182-142 record- while changing the culture and the expectations surrounding a team that spent the better part of the past two decades as a nearly irrelevant member of the National League.
That time has changed and with Clint Hurdles’ health issues behind him – watch out. The captain is ready to guide his ship to its final destination: October.