Detroit-When waiting for suspension this year, AJ Hinch knew he wanted to return to baseball. The question was whether anyone in the sport was ready to greet him.
His answer came out pretty quickly.
“The phone rang about 30 minutes after the World Series ended,” Hinch said.
It was Al Avila, Detroit general manager, who told Hinch to take the plane. The Tigers quickly hired Hinch as their new manager, giving them the opportunity to return to the Major League Dugout after being fired by Houston following Astros’ autographed theft scandal.
It may take Hinch time to overcome the stigma of what happened in Houston, but he and his new boss were ready to tackle the topic on Friday.
Hinch said, “I understand the question and I understand how wrong it is. I’m sorry.” “I’ll keep saying that I’ll say it again before. You’ll never forget the feeling you’ve felt while browsing with your family over the past year. You’ll quickly come back and lead a group of men back and establish everything about Tigers Baseball. Reach.
“I’m sorry for the topic today and I understand why.”
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) October 30, 2020
Hinch, 46, replaces Ron Gardenhire, who retired later this season. He takes over the team that has been rebuilt over the years.
Hinch led Houston to the 2017 World Series title, but that championship and many of his achievements signaled the batters that the Astros used a video feed from the central field camera to oppose the gunner’s autograph and the player tapping the trash can on approach. In January, Major League Baseball suspended Hinch and Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow for the season, and Astros immediately fired both.
Hinch said he didn’t support stealing the sign but didn’t stop it.
“I started thinking right then, and when AJ and Jeff were suspended, what would happen to the two of them? Will they come back to the sport? Will they be welcomed again in the sport?” said Christopher. “I’ve watched over time how everyone involved in the job handled themselves, even from a distance,” said Ilitch, Tigers’ chairman and CEO. I really admired the way AJ treats herself. ”
Hinch said he was very happy when the season started and that he went on two family trips too. He also said he was infected with the coronavirus, which made a scary time in September.
However, he knew he didn’t want to leave the game for a long time.
“I always knew I wanted to go back to baseball,” Hinch said. “It was a problem. I think the game and the people in the game will tell you where it will be.”
Hinch said they count down the outs until the end of the postseason, where you can start a serious interview with the team you care about.
On Thursday, the Chicago White Sox announced they were hiring Tony La Russa on the Hall of Fame to open their business. Hinch said he had never been interviewed for that position.
On Friday, the Tigers announced a multi-year deal with Hinch, who played for Detroit in 2003.
“We knew pretty well who AJ was,” said Avila. “There was no doubt in my mind about his personality, his honesty. He’s one of the better people you’ll meet in games or in life. One mistake doesn’t make a man.”
Long Time Tigers Ace Justin Burlander I contacted him after hiring, Hinch said.
“He sent an enthusiastic message about what Detroit is like this morning when the team wins,” Hinch said. “There is no such place, he said.”
Detroit finished 23-35 in this short season, finishing last in the AL Central. This has been a familiar spot for Tigers lately. Detroit lost 114 matches in 2019, but the team was able to score high in the draft during this period. Casey maizeThe overall No. 1 pick in 2018 made it to the Majors this year, and Detroit took first place this year over infielder Spencer Thor Kelson.
Left-handed Drag Skubal He made his big league debut this season with Mize. These youngsters haven’t yet proven they can remake Tigers rivals, but Detroit hopes that Hinch will be able to recreate what Hinch did in Houston.
Former big league catcher Hinch managed Arizona from May 2009 to July 2010. When he acquired Astros before the 2015 season, he hasn’t hit more than .500 since 2008. Houston has set a record for winning over five years at Hinch. Includes 2017 World Series titles and 2019 American League pennants.
Hinch is a major league manager, 570-452. He spent time in Auckland, Kansas City, Detroit and Philadelphia from 1998 to 2004.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.