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Hurdle becomes Rangers' hitting coach

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Clint Hurdle plans to have a simple philosophy as hitting coach of the Texas Rangers, emphasizing a team-oriented approach and doing whatever it takes to score one more run than the opponent.

Texas views Rudy Jaramillo's replacement as more of an offensive philosophy coach than a hitting coach. With improved pitching and defense, the Rangers don't feel they have to be sluggers.

"We want to ingrain in them a team-first responsibility and your responsibility at any point in the game. Your at-bat is the team at-bat. ... It's just maybe helping them rechannel and redirect some thoughts," Hurdle said Thursday after being introduced by the Rangers. "The significance of a run has taken on a new value, a new meaning, in Texas."

Hurdle, the former Rockies manager, takes over the job that Jaramillo held for 15 years before turning down a one-year deal at the end of the season. Jaramillo then got a three-year contract to become hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs.

While talking about a Rangers lineup that includes Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton and has what Hurdle called a "unique combination of speed and power," he talked about wanting to be consistent in manufacturing runs.

"The team-oriented approach really resonated with us," said general manager Jon Daniels, who was previously in the Rockies organization. "It is more than mechanics and swinging the bat but kind of an overall approach to what we wanted to accomplish."

Texas hit .260 last season, 11th in the AL, but were second with 224 homers.

Even with rookies Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter becoming mainstays in the starting rotation, Texas pitchers had a 4.38 ERA, the lowest since 1993 and 0.99 lower than last season, the best improvement in the majors.

"I felt like we needed some presence. I felt like we needed some experience and we needed immediate impact. Clint brings that," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He has always made everyone accountable."

Hurdle was the Rockies manager for seven-plus seasons before being fired in May. He had a 534-625 record and led Colorado to the 2007 World Series as an NL wild-card team.

Before becoming manager, Hurdle was the team's hitting coach for five-plus seasons, a span during which the Rockies batted better than .290 twice, the NL's top two averages in 70 years.

Hurdle was a manager in the New York Mets minor league system for six seasons. When he was the manager at Triple-A Tidewater in 1992, Washington was on his staff and got his first managerial experience. Washington said Hurdle let him manage the last two games that season to get some experience before taking over a Class A team the following year.

"I thought that was cool, something I've never forgotten," Washington said.

Colorado had offered Hurdle, 52, a position in the front office, but he felt he could make a bigger impact to a team still in uniform.

"I have an itch still needing to be scratched," Hurdle said. "I feel this is where I can make the greatest contribution."

Texas chose Hurdle from four finalists interviewed Monday. The others were former Rangers player Rusty Greer; former Oakland Athletics hitting coach Thad Bosley; and Gerald Perry, who has been a hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, A's and Cubs.