Sunday, July 06, 2014

Clint Hurdle's ship not derailed by bad hip

Manager Clint Hurdle #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on from the dugout during the sixth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 25, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
(Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America

Figuring out a way to get Josh Harrison in the Pirates lineup? That's easy for manager Clint Hurdle.
Deciding when to replace the Pirates starting pitcher and go to the bullpen? Again, that's no problem for Hurdle, a lifelong baseball man.
But making the call to have much-needed hip replacement surgery? The guess here is that it keeps Hurdle up at night every bit as much as his biting pain.
Hurdle was diagnosed in the offseason with chronic arthritis in his hip. His agony has intensified in the past few weeks to the point he mentioned being on a "slippery slope ... This thing has gotten ahead of itself."
He also talked about the possibility of in-season surgery. It's almost certain bench coach Jeff Banister, with a lot of help from pitching coach Ray Searage, would run the Pirates in Hurdle's absence.
If surgery is going to happen for Hurdle, it would make sense for it to be next week during baseball's four-day break for the All-Star Game. Hurdle is scheduled to coach in the game for National League manager Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals and would have to withdraw if an operation is scheduled. But that would reduce his time away from the Pirates.
Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. Without complications, Hurdle probably would be hospitalized for just a day and would have to miss only a week or two of games. Just think 15-day disabled list.
"No," Hurdle said Saturday night when asked if he had a tough decision to make during the break. "Now isn't the time to have it done."
So much for that All-Star break idea.

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