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11/03/09 6:47 PM EST
Hurdle expected to be Texas' hitting coach
Former Rockies manager on tap to replace Jaramillo
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle is expected to be named the Rangers' next hitting coach. The Rangers have not made a formal announcement, but club officials have indicated that it could come in the next day or two. Hurdle would replace Rudy Jaramillo, who turned down a one-year offer to return for a 16th season as the Rangers' hitting coach last month and has since been hired by the Cubs. Hurdle was Colorado's hitting coach from 1997 to 2001. The Rockies, playing in an extremely hitter-friendly park, led the National League in runs scored in three of those five years and were in second place (by two runs) in another. They also led the NL in on-base percentage in three of those five seasons. Larry Walker won the 1997 Most Valuable Player Award with Hurdle as his hitting coach, and the Rockies had three players -- Walker, Todd Helton and Vinny Castilla -- win two Silver Slugger Awards. Hurdle replaced Buddy Bell as the Rockies' manager during the 2002 season and led them to the World Series in 2007. He was dismissed in May and replaced by Jim Tracy, whose son Chad is an outfielder in the Rangers farm system. The Rangers' new hitting coach has much work ahead of him. First of all, he must gain the trust and confidence of players on a team that has operated under one hitting coach for the past 15 years. But the Rangers slipped offensively in 2009. The Rangers scored 784 runs in '09, 117 fewer runs than in 2008, when they led the Majors, with 901. That's their biggest drop in production since they went from 928 runs in 1996 to 807 runs in 1997. Texas' .320 team on-base percentage was the third lowest in the league. Hitters led the league with 1,253 strikeouts and had the third fewest walks, with 472. They had the lowest percentage of pitches taken of any team in the league. The Rangers were eighth in the American League with a .268 batting average with runners in scoring position.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.