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Pirates

Clint Hurdle: If Game 5 Decision Drives A.J. Burnett Away, So Be It

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(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle puts the wraps on an amazing season and looks to the future with Vinnie & Cook on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.

One of the big questions this offseason is the future of pitcher A.J. Burnett, who was passed over for the start in Game 5 of the NLDS. When asked if he is concerned that his decision will drive Burnett away from Pittsburgh, Hurdle replied, “I don’t have any worries. If it does, it did. My responsibilities are to make the best decision for the team that day.

“There’s been a few managers and pitchers who have had relationships that might look very strained publicly, but aren’t really that strained. I respect him. One of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in a Pirate uniform was the Game 5 starter. I’ve applauded that man’s efforts since he put on a Pirate uniform, and I will never, ever have anything to say (about him) other than the fact that he’s added value in a lot of different ways.”

As for the season itself, Hurdle admits he is starting to grasp the impact the Pirates’ run had on the region. “I’m so proud of our players,” he says. “I’m so proud of our organization. I’m so proud of our city. And I am so extremely proud of the way our fanbase showed up for the wild card and playoff games. It’s very humbling, but for me it’s so cool for everybody. You had to feel something special and significant that you hadn’t felt in a long time, and that’s meaningful.”

“We restored the pride and passion. There is a sense that our GPS was heading us in the right direction, and now we believe the next movement has got to be one for sustainability.”

Hurdle also reveals whether he has any regrets from the St. Louis series, how he wants the team to react to having higher expectations next year, and shrugs off the possibility of being named National League Manager of the Year. Hear the entire wide-ranging, candid interview below!

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