Detroit Tigers' Matthew Boyd won't judge new manager AJ Hinch for past mistakes
Detroit Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd is sending a message of forgiveness to new manager AJ Hinch, who is still scrutinized for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.
The plot led to Hinch's year-long MLB suspension and firing.
On Friday, the Tigers announced him as the team's next manager, replacing Ron Gardenhire after his September retirement.
Understanding that "everybody makes mistakes," Boyd is ready to pitch for Hinch, and he isn't upset by the hire. More than anything, Boyd is ready to move on from the subject of sign-stealing and focus on winning.
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"I've made mistakes that I wish I could change, and I could see in AJ's comments he wishes the same," Boyd told the Free Press on Monday. "But I don't think we should be judged on our past as much as how we take our past in stride, and how it defines us in the future."
Boyd doesn't check social media or read too much of the news. He has spent the offseason working out and enjoying his family back home in Seattle. But his father, Kurt, is quick to keep him in the loop. That's how he learned Hinch was on the Tigers' radar.
Although Boyd wasn't focused much on the managerial search, he was pleased with the reviews about Hinch given to him from his friends in the industry.
"The night before (AJ was hired), I talked to a few people that know him," Boyd said, adding he learned Hinch is a strong communicator with young players and veterans. "Everyone spoke so highly of him, that has played for him or knows him. (They) talked about how he's an awesome leader. We're all excited to play for him. He's a champion."
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During Hinch's introductory news conference on Friday, the first question to him was about cheating in 2017 with the Astros.
"All we can do is take his word for it," said Boyd, who watched the news conference live. "That's good enough for me."
Hinch said his mistakes made three years ago don't have anything to do with the Tigers, but he is willing to speak with the team's players and coaches. He wants to make sure his players can ask questions, too, about his fallout in Houston. He hopes those conversations help get everyone within the organization on the same page.
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"Life is too short to hold grudges against people, whether you think it's right or wrong," Boyd said. "In that sense, I think we have a team that's understanding. Those situations haven't come about yet, but if they do, we'll talk it through."
Hinch inherits a team with 345 losses in the last four seasons. The Tigers have finished last in the AL Central four times in the last six seasons.
It's not that the players, such as Boyd, weren't trying to win in previous years, but it's now clear the organization is making a push toward postseason and World Series contention. In five seasons for the Astros, Hinch registered an 810-481 record, reaching the playoffs in four of his five years and making it to the World Series twice.
That encourages Boyd.
He believes success is coming.
"Hired a guy that has won a championship, hired a guy that has had young winning teams," Boyd said. "Those teams, they had veterans on them, but they were a majority of guys that were brought up through the system. It looks like he created a winning culture over there. It's really exciting."
Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.