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World Series champ Astros keep manager Hinch through 2022

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch, pictured May 2018, who guided the Astros to their first World Series crown in 2017, was in the final year of a contract that had an option year for 2019

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

The reigning World Series champion Houston Astros have extended the Major League Baseball contract of manager A.J. Hinch through the 2022 season, the club announced Thursday.

Hinch, who was in the final year of a contract that had an option year for 2019, guided the Astros to their first World Series crown last year, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-game thriller for the title.

"We're thrilled to have AJ in the fold for multiple years," said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who hired Hinch in 2014. "AJ has played a key role in our team success and is one of the most effective managers in baseball.

"He is aligned with the vision of our front office, has made a great connection with our players, and has earned the respect of everyone in the clubhouse.

"Our goal is to win multiple championships. AJ is unquestionably the best manager to help us achieve this goal."

Hinch has a 353-266 career regular-season record in four campaigns with the Astros, including two playoff appaearances and likely another this year.

"To be the manager of the Houston Astros means the world to me," Hinch said. "Who wouldn't sign up to be the manager of the Houston Astros? To the players who are in the back of the room: To be your manager is by far the best job in the world."

The Astros are 82-51, the third-best mark in the major leagues behind the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, and lead the American League West division by 2 1/2 games over Oakland with a month remaining in the regular season.

"AJ has done a tremendous job since taking over our ballclub," Astros owner Jim Crane said. "He knows the game extremely well, he knows his players and knows how to win. We have had a lot of success over the past three seasons, and AJ is a big reason. AJ has certainly earned this extension."

© 2018 AFP