Suspended ex-Astros boss Hinch hired as new Tigers skipper

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Disgraced former Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch was named as the new skipper of the Detroit Tigers on Friday.

Hinch, who was banned from the entirety of the 2020 Major League Baseball season following the Astros' sign-stealing scandal, replaces Ron Gardenhire, who retired abruptly last month citing health reasons.

The Tigers said Hinch had signed a multi-year contract but did not disclose further details.

"Our fans have high expectations for their baseball team, and all of us with the Tigers are confident that today's announcement is a big step towards returning to the on-field success they deserve," Tigers chief executive Christopher Ilitch said in a statement.

Hinch, meanwhile, said he hoped to lead a turnaround in the Tigers' recent fortunes. The franchise has struggled through four consecutive losing regular seasons, and has not made the playoffs since 2014.

"It's time to start playing winning baseball and I am confident this organization is positioned to make that that happen," Hinch said.

The 46-year-old Hinch was one of only two individuals eventually suspended due to the Astros cheating scandal which tarnished the team's World Series-winning season in 2017.

An investigation by Major League Baseball found that while he had not been directly involved in setting up the system used by players to steal signs from opposing pitchers, he had not acted to stamp it out.

Hinch was eventually suspended for one year along with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and fired by the franchise.