BRADENTON, Fla. -- On the eighth day of spring training, and after a 67-95 first season as a major-league manager, Pirates' officials saw enough in John Russell to announce today that they were exercising the 2010 option on his contract.
"J.R. met or exceeded expectations in his first year as the Pirates' manager," Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington said in a statement released this morning.
"His club worked hard to play the game properly and battled from the first out to the last. His leadership, knowledge, attention to detail, ability to see the big picture and passion for things being done the right way made him the ideal choice as our manager a year ago and made the decision to pick up his option for 2010 an easy decision."
Russell, 48, served as the club's third base coach and catching instructor from 2003-05 under Lloyd McClendon. After guiding Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to an 84-58 record and a division title, then Ottawa to a 55-88 mark the next season, he was named Nov. 5, 2007, as the 38th Pirates manager. He signed a contract for two years, with an option to extend it, to replace Jim Tracy, and today the option was put into effect.
Russell's Pirates reached late July with a 50-58 record, but they stumbled to 17-37 after deals that sent away Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte.