Results tagged ‘ John Russell ’

Orioles officially name Russell to coaching staff

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates will be seeing a good amount of John Russell again in 2011, though obviously on the other side of the lines. Russell has formally been announced as the Orioles’ third base coach after Willie Randolph took the bench coach position on Buck Showalter’s staff. Both Randolph (Mets) and Russell are former big league managers.

Russell will still be paid by the Pirates next season, since he had one more year on his contract.

“There were three good years in Pittsburgh,” Russell said. “Obviously our record wasn’t very good. But I enjoyed my time there and learned a lot. [I] got to work with some very young players and it was a lot of fun for me. You learn a lot about different players.”

The Orioles, who hold Spring Training in nearby Sarasota, will face the Pirates five times this spring. Russell will then return to Pittsburgh in June when the Orioles come for a three-game series (June 20-22).

“Looking at Baltimore, I saw them last year in Spring Training and saw some of their young players and I was pretty encouraged,” Russell said. “When Buck started you began to see some of the things I saw in Spring Training.”

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John Russell heads to Orioles

Jenifer Langosch/

It has not been officially announced, but a source confirmed with that former Pirates manager John Russell will join Buck Showalter’s Orioles staff as the team’s bench coach.

Full details can be found here.

One of the things that I heard consistently from those that played under Russell was that his best fit would probably be as a Major League coach more so than a Major League manager. Part of that was probably due to a perceived lack of leadership or communication with players. Hardly anyone, though, criticized his ability to be a quality instructor.

The Pirates and Orioles will play five times in Spring Training, so Russell will see plenty of his former club.

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Clint Hurdle hired to be Bucs manager

Jenifer Langosch/

The next manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates will be Clint Hurdle, who, industry sources have confirmed, has agreed to a three-year deal with the club. The Pirates have planned a press conference for Monday at PNC Park to announce the deal.

Hurdle was one of two final candidates being considered by the Pirates, who interviewed eight different people for John Russell’s former job. Jeff Banister, who has been with the organization for 25 years, was the other person still under consideration.

Hurdle also recently interviewed for the Mets’ managerial opening and was reported by multiple outlets to be receiving a second interview next week. However, Hurdle apparently did not want to pass up the offer of a guaranteed job for a potential one.

Hurdle, a former Rockies manager and hitting coach for the Rangers in 2010, was unable to be contacted until after Texas was eliminated from the postseason. That is why he didn’t interview with the Pirates until November 4.

Hurdle, 53, spent parts of eight seasons managing the Rockies, who advanced to the World Series under Hurdle in 2007. He took over early in the 2002 season and remained in that capacity until being fired on May 29, 2009. At that time, he was replaced by Jim Tracy, who managed in Pittsburgh from 2006-07.

The Rockies went a combined 534-625 under Hurdle, who led the club to one winning season in his years with Colorado.

Hurdle began his managerial career in 1988, when he led the Single-A St. Lucie Mets. He went on to manage two seasons at the Double-A level and another two years in Triple-A before joining the Rockies in ’94 to serve as the organization’s Minor League hitting coordinator. Hurdle was named Colorado’s hitting coach in 1997.

Hurdle’s playing career began when he was drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 1975 First-Year Player Draft. Hurdle made his Major League debut with Kansas City two years later and went on to spend parts of the next four seasons with the Royals.

Before retiring after the 1987 season, Hurdle played for the Reds, Mets and Cardinals. He played five different positions in the Majors and finished with a .259 career batting average.

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What do you think?

Jenifer Langosch/

Now that you have a day to debate the Pirates’ decision to fire manager John Russell and retain general manager Neal Huntington, I want to hear from you.

Let me pose three questions, to which I am interested in hearing your responses:

1. Did Russell deserve another year to see this rebuilding process through further, or did he need to go for the club to make positive strides in 2011?

2. Who/what was most at fault for the Pirates’ 105-loss season?

3. What qualities do you want to see in a new manager?

The forum is all yours…

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Russell speaks on dismissal

Jenifer Langosch/

John Russell, who was fired by the Pirates earlier on Monday, has not returned a call left by for comment. However, Russell did appear on SIRIUS XM earlier in the day and had this to say about his dismissal:

On dismissal: “It’s unfortunate, but you learn to deal with it and move on. I can’t wait to get back in the game in some other capacity because it’s what I love. Now’s it’s the time of just making a few phone calls and see if I can land on my feet somewhere.

“I kind of had a gut feeling this was probably going to happen. But you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed my time. I love the game of baseball, and there are so many opportunities out there. Like I said, I look forward to getting back.

“[General manager] Neal [Huntington] and I are good friends and we’ve been through a lot together and I know it’s been tough on him as well as myself. All I’ll say is, again, I appreciate the opportunity Neal gave me. I appreciate everything he did. It was a great experience, I’ll never forget it. And, again, I wish the players well.  But as far as going into details, it is what it is. I wish them the best of luck and hopefully I’m in the opposing dugout someday and we can go to battle that way. Overall, it is what it is and it’s time for me to move on and I look forward to the next step.”

When asked about the progress of the team over the last three years: “It’s gone well. They did a good job as far as getting some young talent and spending some money in the draft and things like that. It was kind of the blueprint that we had set up, and I felt like we were pretty much on that blueprint, that this is kind of what we envisioned that we were going to go through. I think there’s, obviously with some of their young players, there are some good things on the horizon for Pittsburgh. I appreciated the opportunity. I appreciated the chance to do what I love to do, so I wish them the best. There are a lot of players over there that I’m very fond of and those guys really worked hard for me and the rest of the staff. I look forward to watching those guys grow. They’re going to be a fun group. There’s a lot of pride in it for me because I can’t wait to see some of those guys continue to excel.”

When asked if the team could realistically get to .500 next year: “It’s a possibility. The big thing, I said it the other day [when] they asked me what’s disappointing this year other than obviously the record and some things, our road record was really bad. But our starting pitching, you know, we lost 84 games in the rotation and that’s just, it’s astounding.  It kind of floors me every time I think about it. That’s the bottom line, and everybody knows if you can’t pitch it’s going to be very difficult. Charlie Morton did come around, and Ross Ohlendorf comes back healthy, and James McDonald’s going to be a big help. but I think that’s going to be the telltale sign. If they pitch better, they’ve got a chance.”

On where he’d like to go next: “Obviously, I’d love to manage at the Major League level again.  Whether it happens now or in the future I’ll wait and see. I was a third base coach for a few years. I do have managing skills. So I think I’m qualified to do a few things, if it’s bench coach or third base coach, or, you know, I really enjoyed being a triple-A manager as well. I have a blast doing that. It’s a lot of fun.”

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Beasley, Banister, Long express desire to return

Jenifer Langosch/

Three coaches from the Pirates’ 2010 staff said on Monday that they would consider returning to the organization next season under a new manager.

Shortly after the Pirates announced that John Russell had been removed as the team’s manager, hitting coach Don Long, third base coach Tony Beasley and interim bench coach Jeff Banister told that they would welcome the opportunity to return to the Major League coaching staff and see the organization’s rebuilding process through.

General manager Neal Huntington left that door open, too, saying that the coaches would each be evaluated individually, with the possibility that they could be brought back. But since the Pirates’ next manager will have a significant say in hiring his coaching staff, no coaching decisions will be made until after that hire.

In the meantime, Huntington has told each coach that he is welcome to pursue other opportunities.

Reached at his home in Virginia, Beasley expressed a strong desire to return for a 19th season in the Pirates’ organization. He has spent the last three serving as the team’s third base coach and baserunning instructor.

Beasley is also under contract through the 2011 season, so that could be a factor as the organization assembles its next staff.

“I would definitely love to be back, especially with where we are with the young kids,” Beasley said. “I’d definitely love to be a part of that and a part of the growth. The process that we talked about is kind of coming to an end. I see that in the near future, and hopefully I can be a part of that. I know it’s out of my hands, but until I’m told otherwise, I hope to stay.”

Beasley said that Huntington spoke with members of the coaching staff during the team’s most recent road trip and informed them that the immediate future was uncertain for everyone.

“I’m willing to be patience and see how it works out,” Beasley said.

Like Beasley, Long was hired shortly after Russell was named manager in November 2007. Though the team finished last in the National League in batting average (.242) this season, Long has been credited by numerous players for the work he’s done with them over the past three seasons.

Most recently, he oversaw the rookie success of Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. Two years ago, he helped Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth take significant strides forward in their approaches and swings.

“The competitive side of me says we started that process and we’ve been through major overhaul on the roster,” Long said. “We’ve gotten to the point that guys who you thought would have the chance to come up here did, and they showed big signs of what they’re capable of doing. I would want to see through.

“For the people on the outside looking in, the most dominant stat is the record,” he added. “But to watch a group of players – where there is a lot of youth and not a lot of experience – go from where they started to where they finished, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. People on the outside looking in can scoff at that. But for me, as a coach, the most important thing is you take care of the things you can take care of and one of those is how you prepare and how you show up.”

Long said a decision on his future will come after he spends some time with his family. He also said he realizes that returning might not even be an option in the end.

“I’m going to take some time to absorb it a little bit and then take some time to look at the options and what I want to do,” he said. “You never know, there is always the opportunity to stay. Or there is the potential that whoever they hire will want someone they are more familiar with. And I understand that.”

Banister joined the Major League staff as the club’s interim bench coach in early August, following the dismissal of Gary Varsho. He has been with the organization for the last 25 years and began his eighth season as the Pirates’ Minor League Field Coordinator earlier this year.

Though Banister may not retain his Major League coaching job, his rapport with players and coaches in the Minor League levels would seem to suggest that the Pirates would welcome having him return in some capacity. The Pirates, however, have not announced such a decision.

Asked if he would like to continue working with the organization, Banister said: “That’s an obvious yes. There’s a lot of guys I know very well who’ve come up through our system that are there. They’ve developed, they continue to develop. They’re not finished by any stretch of the imagination. I’d love to continue that if Neal, [president] Frank [Coonelly] and [owner] Bob [Nutting] allow that to happen.

“My passion is for this organization and where I think we can go and where I think we are going. It’s unfinished for me. Until somebody tells me they don’t need my services anymore, I’ll always feel that way. I grew up in this uniform and there are a lot of things I think we can and will do. I’m sure some people think we are a ways away. I see it every day, and I know we’re not that far away. There’s a really strong nucleus of talented athletes that take the field every day. There is some finishing that needs to go along with their Major League experience before they truly know what it takes to win on an every-day basis. Hopefully, I’m part of that, in whatever capacity that is.

The rest of Russell’s former staff included Luis Dorante (bullpen coach), Carlos Garcia (first base/infield coach) and Ray Searage (interim pitching coach).

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Bucs claim RHP Leroux off waivers

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates made yet another waiver claim, this time plucking right-hander Chris Leroux from the Marlins. Righty Brian Bass was designated for assignment to make space for Leroux on the 40-man roster.

Seventeen of Leroux’s 22 career Major League appearances came this season (all in relief). In 18 innings, Leroux walked 11, allowed 24 hits and gave up 14 earned runs. He struck out 18. Most of Leroux’s time in the big leagues came early in the season, though his last three outings came earlier this month, after which the Marlins designated him for assignment.

A seventh-round pick by the Marlins in 2005, Leroux had a 6.28 ERA in three Minor League levels this season. The majority of his time was spent with Triple-A New Orleans, where Leroux posted a 6.95 ERA in 21 games.

Bass spent most of the year in Triple-A, making only four appearances for Pittsburgh. He allowed 10 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.

I assume that Leroux will be joining the big-league club for the remainder of the season, though that’s something manager John Russell will have to confirm when the clubhouse opens later.

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August 25: Cardinals (68-55) @ Pirates (42-84)

Jenifer Langosch/

Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf has been placed on the 15-day DL (no surprises there), and taking his spot on the roster will be lefty Brian Burres. I assume this means that Burres — who has started seven games for the Pirates already this year — will take Ohlendorf’s next scheduled start on Sunday. Have to confirm that with manager John Russell, though. And this could be a case where Burres would make the start only if the Pirates don’t have to use him in long relief these next few days.

In case you missed it last night, Jeff Karstens is no longer starting this game due to arm fatigue. Daniel McCutchen is stepping in to make the spot start. McCutchen has thrown more than 19 pitches in an outing only once this month (56 on Aug. 8), so he’ll certainly be on some sort of pitch limitation. What that is, I’ll have to ask Russell when the clubhouse opens.

UPDATE: A few answers… Burres will be used in the bullpen. It appears as if the Pirates will dip back into Triple-A for a starter on Sunday. As for McCutchen, Russell threw out an arbitrary number of 70-80 pitches for tonight’s start, though the Pirates will monitor McCutchen carefully. If his pitches start elevating or getting flat, that’s the sign that McCutchen is tiring.

Much more detail on all the injury news/roster moves to be found on in a bit.

S. Schumaker (2B), R. Winn (RF), A. Pujols (1B), M. Holliday (LF), J. Jay (CF), F. Lopez (SS), P. Feliz (3B), B. Anderson (C), J. Westbrook (RHP)

Westbrook vs: PIT: 0-0 in 4 games, 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 4 K

A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (1B), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Snyder (C), D. McCutchen (RHP)

McCutchen vs: STL: 0-1 in 1 start, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 1 K

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August 10: Pirates (39-72) @ Padres (64-46)

Jenifer Langosch/

So I was sitting here in the PETCO press box watching Andy LaRoche get a tutorial at first base from manager John Russell and infield coach Carlos Garcia for at least 15 minutes. I figured this was a sign that the Pirates were going to ease LaRoche into a position that he’s played only once (June 11, 2008) in the Majors before.

Well, so much for any ease-in process. LaRoche is batting sixth and playing first tonight. That will surely be conversation topic No. 1 with Russell once the clubhouse opens later, but it means that for tonight, LaRoche is in over Garrett Jones and Ryan Doumit and Jeff Clement.

UPDATED: Russell explained his decision to put LaRoche at first largely as the result of wanting to get a right-handed hitter in against a lefty starter. That explains the absence of Clement. There was also a desire to get Jones a day off after he started 110 of the team’s first 111 games. Jones will be back in the lineup on Wednesday.

And an ADDITION: This has nothing to do with LaRoche, but Jeff Karstens — the pride of San Diego area high school Mount Miguel — is expecting about 200 family members and friends for tonight’s game.

A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), L. Milledge (RF), A. LaRoche (1B), C. Snyder (C), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)

Karstens vs. SD: 0-2 in 3 games, 8.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 0 HR, 4 BB, 5 K

J. Hairston (2B), M. Tejada (SS), A. Gonzalez (1B), R. Ludwick (RF), C. Headley (3B), Y. Torrealba (C), W. Venable (LF), C. Denorfia (CF), W. LeBlanc (LHP)

LeBlanc vs. PIT: 1-1 in 3 games, 13.2 IP, 15 H, 6 ER, 4 HR, 6 BB, 10 K

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Resop claimed; joining bullpen

Jenifer Langosch/

Looking for any way to improve a limping bullpen, the Pirates claimed right-hander Chris Resop off waivers from the Braves on Wednesday. Resop will join Pittsburgh immediately and shift into a relief role.

The Pirates are expected to make a corresponding roster move on Thursday.

“Adding Resop should help us,” manager John Russell said. “He’s been doing very well. He has shown some good numbers and hopefully he’ll be a guy who can come in and help us out.”

Resop has made only one Major League appearance since 2008, that coming with Atlanta on June 15. He allowed five earned runs on five hits and three walks in two innings. The next day, the righty was placed on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle.

Resop has spent the rest of the season in the Minors as a starter. With Triple-A Gwinnett (Ga.), he went 6-3 with a 2.09 ERA in 15 starts. The 27-year-old pitched in Japan in 2009 and has accumulated 63 big-league innings since making his debut in 2005.

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