GM: Hurdle's job depends on turnaround

Updated: May 23, 2009, 12:27 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has laid down the law, benching two players, waiving a third and holding a team meeting to shake his struggling team out of the doldrums. But Hurdle's job security will depend on whether the tough love turns the Rockies around, general manager Dan O'Dowd said, according to The Denver Post.

"It's a misnomer to say we are on a daily Clint watch. I am giving Clint the benefit of the doubt for now," O'Dowd said, according to the report. "It's unfair to blame him solely for us playing like horse manure. I am just as accountable.

"So, there's no timeline on this. But we need to play better."

It's pretty clear, if you are not playing good, and if you are not playing the right way, you are not going to play. I think guys have gotten the message. We will see how it goes.

-- Garrett Atkins

O'Dowd said he won't be joining the Rockies at their interleague series in Detroit this weekend, according to the report. That could be a sign that Hurdle will be given a little time to turn things around.

Hurdle managed the Rockies' stunning run to the World Series in 2007. But the glory has faded: The Rockies sank to a 74-88 finish in 2008 and started this season 16-24 -- the second-worst record in the National League, surpassed only by the 12-28 Washington Nationals.

The Rockies' past three losses have come by seven runs or more and they're 1-8 in one-run games. They're 7-10 at home, 9-14 on the road and last in the lightly regarded NL West, 12 games behind the first-place Dodgers.

This past week, Hurdle has issued his players their wake-up call.

Pitcher Glendon Rusch, sporting a 6.75 ERA, was waived on May 15. Slumping third baseman Garrett Atkins, batting .189 this season -- well below his .292 career average -- was benched. And shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was benched Wednesday, after hitting into a double play on a first-pitch swing in an 8-1 loss to the Braves on Tuesday.

Hurdle says his players have not tuned him out, according to the Post.

"I need to be accountable, and I am accountable, when we don't play well on the field. And when the players play well they need to get the praise," Hurdle said, according to the Post. "But you don't look for excuses, you look for answers. We keep hitting that [door]. We have to find a way to bust through it and stay through it."

Atkins said the Rockies have heard Hurdle loud and clear.

"It's pretty clear, if you are not playing good, and if you are not playing the right way, you are not going to play," Atkins said. "I think guys have gotten the message. We will see how it goes."

Hurdle and O'Dowd are both in the final year of their contracts with the Rockies.

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