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Pirates add old acquaintance of Hurdle to staff

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011
 

Clint Hurdle and Rick Sofield first met in the summer 1976, less than a year after they were drafted four spots apart in the first round of baseball's amateur draft.

"We both were playing in the (Single-A) Midwest League, and we hit it off immediately," Sofield said. "We had a lot in common — a couple of first-round picks, trying to meet everyone's big expectations."

By the end of the decade, both were in the majors — Hurdle with the Kansas City Royals, Sofield with the Minnesota Twins. After their playing careers ended, they remained close friends and worked together for a while as coaches in the Colorado Rockies' organization and at The Baseball Factory, a development camp for high school and youth league players.

So, when Hurdle called Sofield recently and offered him a job with the Pirates, Sofield was quick to accept.

"This is a great fit," said Sofield, 54, who also has worked with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, assistant GM Kyle Stark, Triple-A Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor and pitching coordinator Jim Benedict. "I'm excited to get to work with those guys again."

Sofield's duties haven't yet been specified. He said he will be working in the minor leagues, perhaps as a manager or hitting coach.

For the past three years, Sofield coached at South Carolina Beaufort. He also worked for 12 years as a minor league coach, including a stint as the Pirates' minor league field coordinator in 2002.

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