SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) — Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch has been named the new skipper for the major league squad taking on South Korean All-Stars in exhibition games here next month.
Major League Baseball (MLB) announced on Monday (U.S. time) that Hinch will be in charge of the MLB team during the “MLB World Tour: Korea Series” against stars from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).
Hinch is replacing former Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny.
MLB had announced Matheny as the MLB team skipper on Sept. 19, but Matheny was fired by the Royals on Oct. 5, following a 65-97 season.
This Associated Press file photo from Aug. 14, 2022, shows Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch during the top of the sixth inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. (Yonhap)
“South Korea has a rich baseball tradition, and I’m looking forward to seeing our players match up against some of the top talent from the KBO,” Hinch said in a statement released by the Tigers. “I’m also honored to play a part in Major League Baseball’s continued focus on expanding our game’s international footprint, and know that our work in South Korea this fall will help spread the message that baseball is for everyone.”
The Tigers, like the Royals, finished well out of postseason contention at 66-96, 11 games worse than last year in Hinch’s second year at the helm.
Hinch had previously managed the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Houston Astros. He won the World Series title with the Astros in 2017, though the championship run has since been tainted by a sign-stealing scandal that led MLB to suspend Hinch for one year. Hinch was also fired by the Astros but returned to the managerial ranks with the Tigers once his suspension ended.
The southeastern city of Busan will host the first two games of the World Tour on Nov. 11 and 12, and Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul will hold the next two games on Nov. 14 and 15.
Six players have committed to the MLB team, including two former KBO stars in San Diego Padres shortstop Kim Ha-seong and New York Mets first baseman Darin Ruf, and the 2015 World Series MVP for the Royals, Salvador Perez.
From the KBO side, the opening game will feature a team made up of players from three clubs based in and around Busan: the Lotte Giants, the NC Dinos and the Samsung Lions.
For the final three games, a KBO All-Star team, with players picked from all 10 teams, will take on MLB players.