'Poor decision' to hire D-backs' Hinch?

Updated: May 18, 2009, 11:00 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Arizona Diamondbacks struggled to begin the season before firing manager Bob Melvin.

In the week since his replacement, A.J. Hinch, took over, they've continued their slide, losing six of eight games.

Former Diamondbacks pitching coach Bryan Price, who resigned upon Melvin's firing, thinks he knows why.

"The hiring of A.J., I thought, was a poor decision," Price told the Marin Independent Journal, a Bay Area, Calif., newspaper.

[+] EnlargeA.J. Hinch
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesA.J. Hinch, 34, became the youngest manager in the majors since Cleveland hired Eric Wedge in 2002.

A former MLB catcher with no previous managerial experience, Hinch, who has a degree in psychology from Stanford, was in his fourth season as the Diamondbacks' director of player development before his hire on May 8.

"A.J. has worked hard to get his credibility in the business in that [player-development] side of the game, but he doesn't have any credibility between the lines as a manager," Price said of Hinch, who became the youngest manager in the majors since Eric Wedge was hired by the Cleveland Indians in October 2002. "That, for me, just wasn't going to work."

Hinch said Price's comments had no bearing on his approach to his new job.

"I'm not shaken by it," Hinch said, according to MLB.com. "I have confidence in my abilities running a game and being in this position. We have a job to do, and I think for me to spend a lot of time thinking about the different reactions that are going on out there is negative energy. So I'm going to stay concentrated on what we're doing on the field, the 25 guys here, the staff that I have here and this organization. I can't pay a lot of attention to it. It's not fair to that group out there."

The Diamondbacks (14-23), who sit last in the NL West with the majors' third-worst record, acknowledged the hiring of Hinch as unconventional when they announced the move, saying the 34-year-old would offer "organizational advocacy."

"He brings unique leadership and perspective to the job," general manager Josh 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."

Price, who joined the Philadelphia Phillies last week as a minor league pitching consultant, said he left the Diamondbacks on his own accord.

"I didn't feel I was going to have his back as well as whoever they chose to replace me with," Price said. "There was no way I could stay. It was really hard to leave the pitchers. They are a phenomenal group and very talented group. Great catchers. A really close-knit group of guys. It hurts to know that I left them hanging."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE