Rockies give O'Dowd, Hurdle contract extensions

DENVER -- A summons from the general manager 23 years ago
was bad news for Clint Hurdle, who was released by Seattle an hour
before the season's first pitch.

This time, it was good news.

Hurdle received a two-year contract extension through 2009 on
Monday, hours before the Colorado Rockies opened the season against
the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I had a very memorable opening day 23 years ago. I got
released 63 minutes before the first pitch. So I have two
perspectives to deal from," Hurdle said.

The Rockies also gave general manager Dan O'Dowd a two-year
extension. Both he and Hurdle were entering the final year of their

Team president Keli McGregor met with owners Dick and Charlie
Monfort at the end of spring training to propose the two-year
extension for O'Dowd, who is entering his eighth season as GM.

O'Dowd, in turn, offered a two-year extension to Hurdle, who is
beginning his fifth season as Rockies manager.

"Clint and I are in this thing together," O'Dowd said. "For
me it was part of the understanding of moving forward that Clint
would move forward. I don't think it would have mattered one way or
the other how he was going to manage this way club this year. It
affords him the opportunity to see this thing through the way it
should be seen through."

Hurdle has never had a winning record and took a 352-436 overall
record into the opener. The Rockies finished 76-86 last year.

The extension caught Hurdle off guard.

"I was absolutely surprised. The most. Completely," Hurdle
said. "I am humbled. Everyone in uniform knows we have unfinished
business. I feel empowered by the confidence from the ownership. I
am looking forward to help take this team to the next level, to
make our fans proud and filling this place on a daily and nightly

The Rockies are shooting for their first winning season since

"Nothing is going to change from my perspective in the way I
was going to approach the season," Hurdle said.

McGregor said he thinks it's a realistic goal to win the NL West
this season.

"I think this is a game of confidence," McGregor said. "There
are guys that pitch on the side and can't take it to the mound with
them. There are guys that can play golf tournaments, but can't play
in majors. I think we have confidence. I think our ability to relax
and be confident at this level is the difference between what we've
been and what we could be."