PHOENIX -- After firing Bob Melvin, the Arizona Diamondbacks have turned their fortunes over to a 34-year-old former catcher with no experience as a manager.
A.J. Hinch was introduced as Melvin's replacement as manager Friday at a news conference, where general manager Josh Byrnes acknowledged the hiring was "unconventional."
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"He brings unique leadership and perspective to the job," Byrnes said. "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."
|A.J. Hinch 'is going to have to learn on the job,' says GM Josh Byrnes. (Getty Images)|
"It's a unique experience that A.J. brings as to how the team was built and where these players came from," Byrnes said. "Obviously there's a piece of experience he doesn't have. He's going to have to learn on the job."
Hinch, who gets a contract through 2012, has known many of the Arizona players as they worked their way through the minor league system.
"I feel a part of each and every one of them," he 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 Diamondbacks also promoted Mel Stottlemyre Jr. to pitching coach and Jack Howell as hitting coach. Arizona pitching coach Bryan Price resigned and hitting coach Rick Schu was fired.
Melvin was NL Manager of the Year after leading Arizona to the NLCS in 2007. His contract runs through 2012. An hour before Hinch was introduced, Melvin appeared at a news conference at the ballpark to thank those who gave him the opportunity in Arizona.
"It's been a great run here, it really has," he said. "The best days I've had on a baseball field have been here in this ballpark with this team, and I think this is my 28th year in professional baseball."
Melvin was in his second stint in Arizona. He was manager Bob Brenly's bench coach when the team won the World Series in 2001.