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Scarred Tigers manager A.J. Hinch on role in scandal: 'Wrong is wrong, and it was very wrong'

By Tony Paul, The Detroit News on

Published in Baseball

DETROIT — A.J. Hinch has said he's sorry, and shown remorse.

And the Tigers have accepted his apology, naming him the franchise's 39th manager Friday. It's Hinch's third managerial stop, after Arizona (2009-10) and Houston (2015-19); he was fired by the Astros amid the sign-stealing cheating scandal that rocked Major League Baseball, which handed Hinch a one-year suspension.

The suspension ended after the World Series concluded Tuesday night, Tigers general manager Al Avila called him 30 minutes after the last out, and he interviewed with the Tigers on Wednesday and Thursday. He signed a three-year contract Friday.

Hinch, 46, replaces Ron Gardenhire, who retired late in the 2020 season.

In a press release sent out by the Tigers on Friday, Hinch called the last year "the most difficult of my life" — which also included a bout with COVID-19 in September. He met with reporters over Zoom on Friday afternoon.

"Wrong is wrong," Hinch said, "and it was very wrong."

 

Hinch, Avila and Tigers CEO Christopher Ilitch were at the press conference at Comerica Park, wearing masks until they spoke.

Ilitch cited Hinch's "wealth of baseball knowledge and experience." Avila cited his "diverse baseball acumen and passion for the game."

Still, tough conversations took place Wednesday and Thursday.

"As I told Mr. Ilitch and Al both, that's part of my story. It's not the Tigers story," Hinch said in his first in-depth public comments about the sign-stealing scandal since before the baseball season. "I understand the question and I understand how wrong it was.

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