The Detroit Tigers are bringing on former Houston Astros skipper A.J. Hinch to be their next manager, the team announced on Friday.
Hinch — who was suspended and then fired over the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme — interviewed with the Tigers on Thursday, per The Athletic, the same day Chicago White Sox announced the hiring of Tony La Russa. Hinch, 46, was considered a candidate for that job and his signature was accidentally on the team’s email announcement.
He was a backup catcher with the club in 2003 and is close with Scott Bream, the Tigers’ director of pro personnel. The two worked together in the San Diego Padres front office.
The Tigers interviewed at least 12 candidates for the job, per The Athletic. They’re filling the shoes of Ron Gardenhire, who retired last month ahead of the season finale. Hinch and former Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora were unable to interview for jobs until after the World Series, when their suspensions for the Astros cheating scandal were lifted.
The Tigers announcement came exactly one year after Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, Hinch’s final game as Astros manager.
Hinch’s suspension ended with World Series
Hinch and former GM Jeff Luhnow were given one-year suspensions by MLB and fired by the Astros in the fallout of the illegal sign-stealing scandal that dominated the baseball world last offseason. For Hinch’s part, he was never reportedly an active participant in scheme. But he has said he knew of it going on and took responsibility for not doing anything to stop it.
Cora, the former Astros bench coach, was also suspended and lost his job with the Red Sox.
Hinch had been the Astros manager since 2015, following two years with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He led the club to a (now tainted) World Series championship in 2017 and the American League pennant in 2019. They lost to the Washington Nationals in Game 7 of the World Series.
He went 481-329 (.594) with the Astros and finished top-five in AL Manager of the Year voting four of the five seasons.
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