The last time the Athletics faced AJ Hinch as a manager, he was sporting a Houston Astros uniform. Oakland will face Hinch once again this week for a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Hinch was named the Tigers' manager in October.
Hinch and A’s manager Bob Melvin are familiar with one another, having shared managerial responsibilities for the two top teams in the AL West for years, and still talk. Even after the Astros cheating scandal.
“I’ve already talked to him earlier today,” Melvin said Thursday. “I’m not going to take the lineup card out tonight. That wouldn’t affect how we interact. We’ve spoken kind of confidentially. Over the past year, he was very apologetic for what happened. Not just to me, but to a lot of different people in the game.”
A’s pitcher Mike Fiers unearthed the scandal after the 2019 season, revealing the Astros would steal signs electronically during their 2017 World Series run.
After a three-month-long league investigation, Hinch and then-general manager Jeff Luhnow both were fired by owner Jim Crane. In addition, the team was fined $5 million and had to forfeit their first and second-round draft picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts.
The Tigers sit at a .500 record this season (6-6) after just completing a three-game sweep against … the Astros.
Hinch has taken responsibility, and said the cheating did happen “on his watch,” in an interview with MLB Network. However, the commissioner’s report did find Hinch was not an active participant and did not endorse what had happened that season.
“We’ve spoke our piece and you know he’s back doing what he’s good at doing,” Melvin said. “I’m sure he’s just trying to put that in the rearview mirror.”