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News » Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2009-05-09

Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2009-05-09

Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2009-05-09
With the hiring of A. J. Hinch as manager, the Diamondbacks are breaking new ground. Hinch, who was promoted from director of player development, has never coached or managed at any level, let alone the major leagues.

"The lack of experience is overwhelmed by understanding what organizational advocacy is," D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes said in announcing Hinch's promotion after firing 2007 NL manager of the year Bob Melvin. Hinch is signed through 2012.

"We're not here to reinvent the wheel, but to change the nature of the job a little bit, OK? We'll do that. A.J.'s a leader. He connects with people. He gets things done."

Melvin was told Wednesday by Byrnes that he would be fired after the team returned from a road trip Thursday night, but he was asked to manage games in San Diego Wednesday and Thursday. He did, taking out the lineup card Thursday afternoon.

Hinch, 34, spent all or parts of seven seasons as a major league catcher and has a degree in psychology from Stanford, although it remains to be seen if that will help the team that has the lowest batting average, the lowest on-base percentage and the lowest batting average with runners in scoring position in the major leagues. He joined the D-backs in 2006.

"I feel a part of each and every one of them (players)," Hinch said. "I've been involved in different aspects throughout their career so far, and I think that's to their advantage and I think that's to my advantage."

The D-backs promoted hitting coach Jack Howell and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr., to the staff after former hitting coach Rick Schu also was fired and pitching coach Bryan Price, one of Melvin's best friends, quit.

"It's not sort of taking bullets and saying the right things publicly," Byrnes said. "There are actions, there's a vibe, 'Hey, you're going to get this done.' There are managers we admire that sort of give the vibe this is going to work because I think it's going to work. I think (the vibe) was missing. I don't think we gave off the vibe that this will work."

Melvin, the winningest manager in D-backs history, could not have taken a higher road in a press conference before Hinch's on Friday. He praised the ownership and front office.

"The best days I've had on a baseball field have been here in this ball park with this team," said Melvin, who was manager Bob Brenly's bench coach on the 2001 World Series winner. "I'm grateful for my time here. It's been a joyous run for me here."

NATIONALS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 4: Washington spoiled new D-backs manager A. J. Hinch's debut while sending the D-backs to their fifth loss in six games. OF Justin Upton extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games and scored the final run of the game in the seventh inning. OF Eric Byrnes singled and stole second with one out in the eighth inning, but he was thrown out attempting to steal third and the D-backs never got another base runner.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 9, 2009

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