Meet Your Bucs: Part One-Managers & Coaches

By Zane Heiple

Clint Hurdle Leads The 2011 Pirates Staff

Well Pirates’ fans, the 2011 baseball season is just days away and there are many new faces on the Pittsburgh roster this year.  Over the next five days we will look at the people who will be bearing the white, black, gray and pinstripe uniforms this season.
Our first look of the series will deal with the men in charge of leading the Buccos this year, manager & coaches.
Manager-Clint Hurdle:  This will be Clint’s first season as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He was named manager on November 15 and this is the 39th manager in the 124 year history of the club.  Last season, Hurdle was the hitting coach of the American League champion Texas Rangers, who led the MLB with a .276 team batting average.  Before joining the Rangers, he was the manager of the Colorado Rockies from 2002-2009.  While in Colorado, Clint compiled a 543-625 record and led the Rockies to the 2007 World Series.  Prior to his success with the Rockies, Clint served as a Minor League hitting coordinator and was Colorado’s hitting coach.  From 1988-1993 he was a Minor League manager for the New York Mets.  He was drafted in the first round of the 1975 baseball draft by the Kansas City Royals and made his Major League debut in 1977.  His career was spent with the Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals over ten seasons.  Clint hit the final of his 32 home runs off of Pirates’ pitcher Rick Reuschel at Three Rivers Stadium.
Batting Coach-Gregg Ritchie:  Gregg Ritchie became the Pirates’ hitting coach on November 24, 2010.  This will be his sixth season in the Pittsburgh organization, the previous five as a Minor League hitting coordinator.  Before Pittsburgh, he spent ten years as a hitting coach with the Chicago White Sox Minor League system.  Ritchie was the San Francisco Giants’ organization as an outfielder for seven seasons.
Pitching Coach-Ray Searage:  This will be Ray’s first full season as Pirates’ pitching coach and his ninth with the organization in general.  He became interim pitching coach in August of 2010.  Searage spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons as the Florida Marlins’ Minor League pitching coordinator.  He also spent time in the Tampa Bay Rays’ and Cardinals’ Minor League systems prior to his time with Florida.  Searage was drafted by the Cardinals in 1976 and made his Major League debut with the Mets in 1981.  He earned his first career save in September 1981 against the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium.  His time in MLB spanned seven seasons as a member of the Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, White Sox, and  Los Angeles Dodgers.
First Base Coach-Luis Silverio:  Silverio comes to the Pirates after spending the past 35 seasons in the Royals’ organization.  Along with being the first base coach, he will serve as the outfield and base-running coach.  Throughout the 2003-2008 seasons, he was either the Royals’ first base or third base coach.  He also coached in their Minor League system from 1990-2002.  From 1973-1982 he spent time playing the Royals’ system.  His playing days included being a teammate of Clint Hurdle in Kansas City in 1978.
Third Base Coach-Nick Leyva:  Leyva was hired to Hurdle’s staff in November of 2010.  In addition to being the third base coach, he will serve as the club’s infield coach as well.  2011 will be his 35th year in professional baseball and his 17th at the major League level.  He spent the past three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays as third base coach and bench coach.  Leyva was taken in the 24th round of the 1975 draft as an infielder by the St. Louis Cardinals.  After three years of professional baseball, he began his coach careers in the Cardinals’ Minor League system.  From 1984-1988, he was a base coach for the Cardinals.  In October 1988, he became the Phillies’ manager, a title he would hold for two-plus seasons.
Bench Coach-Jeff Banister:  Banister remains as the Pirates’ bench coach after being named to that position in August of the 2010 season.  This is his 26th season in the Pirates’ organization.  From 1999-2002, he was the team’s field coordinator.  A former Pittsburgh draft pick, Banister made his only appearance in the Major Leagues on July 23, 1991 and had a single.  He managed a total of five seasons as a manger in the Pirates’ Minor League system.
Bullpen Coach-Euclides Rojas:  This will be Rojas’ first season as the Pirates’ bullpen coach, a position he held with the Boston Red Sox during the 2003-2004 seasons.  He has spent the past six seasons as Pittsburgh’ Latin American field coordinator.  Prior to working with the Red Sox, he worked with the Marlins’ Minor League team at the Gulf Coast League level.  A right-handed pitcher, Rojas pitched the 1995 season with Florida’s Minor League teams.
Bullpen Catcher-Herberto Andrade:  2011 will be the eighth season for Andrade as the bullpen catcher for the Buccos.  His job duties include working with the catchers, warming up pitchers during games, observing pitchers’ mechanics, and throwing batting practice to hitters.  He spent three seasons from 1986-1988 in the Chicago Cubs’ Minor League system.
Coach-Mark Strittmatter:  Brought to the Pirates’ staff in November of 2010, Strittmatter will work with pitchers’ hitting along with assisting the catchers and hitting program.  A member of the Colorado Rockies’ first draft class in 2002, he served as their bullpen catcher for the past eight seasons.  He spent the majority of his career in the Rockies’ Minor League system as a catcher from 1992 through the 2002 season when he spent the last half of the year with the Padres’ Triple-A team.
Please check back to Fans From The Stands tomorrow as we look at the Pirates’ rotation in Part Two of this five-part series of Meet Your Bucs.
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Zane Heiple

Zane is Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands and a weekly contributor for Armchair Report on NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA related topics. He's also the smartest man in the world. Just ask him.

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