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July 17, 2018

AJ Hinch

Washington, D.C.

Q. You've seen Bregman do some special things. What makes him come through in big moments?
A.J. HINCH: He never ceases to amaze me with how controlled he is in the big moments, whether it's, you know, any part of the game, any situation, any pitcher, any -- any pressure situation. He's had a ton of walk-offs, some of the biggest in franchise history.

Steps up in a Home Run Derby where most people wouldn't have thought he'd even be in it and puts on a great show. Just misses out by a couple feet to advance.

And then sneaks in a third at-bat there when things got crazy for us and does some damage. He obviously loves the moment. His heartbeat is perfect and so is his execution at the big moments.

Q. Legend of his preparation precedes him. This is his second full big league season. How have you seen him change his preparation and how have you seen him adjust to big league life?
A.J. HINCH: He's a baseball rat through and through. When he's at the field, he's always studying, always thinking, always watching and he's smart. He's a smart player. He knows -- he knows how to look for things already. He knows how to lay off pitches he's not looking for. And I've watched him ask a million questions to different players that have come through here. He had a whole new clubhouse to circulate and get to know quickly and ask a ton of questions.

I'm not sure if anyone that I've come across in the big leagues loves baseball more than Alex Bregman. It starts with that, and he continues to get better.

Q. What was better, last night's Home Run Derby or tonight's Home Run Derby?
A.J. HINCH: Tonight's was. We only had one represented last night in our league, and we had quite a few represented tonight. I'll take tonight.

Q. Your thoughts when Scooter tied the game with that home run?
A.J. HINCH: You know, obviously I didn't want to get to that point. But my first thought was directed right at J-Happ. This guy has been in the League for over a decade. He's a former Astro, pitched in a lot of different situations. I told him before the game I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to get him in it, unless something unique happened, just the way that we had lined it up.

Didn't make me happy we were going into extra innings, but I was thrilled for a veteran like J-Happ who has waited a long time for this stage. To get into the game is one thing, but to get the last out was pretty meaningful for him.

Q. There was a lot of stuff tonight with Selfies and guys --
A.J. HINCH: I was in a few.

Q. -- guys mic'd up. Do you see this as maybe a vehicle for MLB, because a lot of times, they say that people don't know the personalities. Do you like that in this event?
A.J. HINCH: I love it in this event. I think, you know, some of the unknown things about our players that we get to see behind -- you guys get to see it when you're in the clubhouses, and we get to see it every day. There's a ton of personality in our game, and sometimes our sport gets a little bit, you know, of a side-swipe at us, that we are this boring sport that methodically goes through the games.

And yet if you see -- if you allow the players to be themselves and you allow them to showcase themselves, this is the biggest showcase event, especially since the game competition side of it hasn't mattered for a few years.

You're amazed what you find out about these guys. Last night's Home Run Derby, watching guys genuinely jump up and down for other teams players was awesome. Tonight when Segura hit the ball, you looked down the row, guys were jumping out of the dugout like it was our own team.

So for this event, it was a great trial and error. I don't know how it played out socially, but from the players's perspective, to be able to let loose a little bit and enjoy each other was pretty cool.

Q. Did you know Verlander called Judge's home run and what was your reaction to it?
A.J. HINCH: I didn't. I think we get away with calling a lot of things. We always call the home run, and I would call home runs usually when Judge is up. I didn't know that.

You see the pointing at the dugout and all that stuff, and my reaction is no surprise. JB knows a lot about baseball and we're going to pick Judge most of the time.

Q. What was it like to be able to write Mike Trout's name in the lineup and watch him play for you?
A.J. HINCH: To me, for a first-time manager in this event, and a young manager in general, I haven't been around this league in this roll forever. It was very humbling to stand in front of that room, that group of men, and look, and there's Mookie and Judge and Chris Sale and Kluber. I should have threatened Trout to hit ninth because he's in our division, but I didn't.

It's so amazing to sit back -- and I had the least amount of pressure on me as long as I kept the game kind of organized and watched the game. This was no strategy. We weren't worried about hitting and running or doing anything from a managing perspective, and so I was blown away by just the sheer ability here. And I love the matchups. I love the Berrios versus Molina and the banter that comes with that, and Vazquez giving Yelich a hard time in right field for not diving with a smile.

To me, we had some of the best displays of what our sport was all about tonight and I was proud to be a part of it. I'll take the same World Series, the same outcome and I'll try to come next year.

Q. Ten home runs, 25 strikeouts. Did that feel like a baseball game?
A.J. HINCH: Standard operation nowadays, right. We're going to homer and punch out as an industry. In the beginning of the game, it was are we going to have a game other than a homer, and at the end, it was, are we going to have enough pitching to get out of this mess.

There's a great love affair with both results. I mean, to kind of empty your tank and hit homers tonight at this event is probably the best thing imaginable, just to have that kind of emotion that comes with the home run, especially when the big boys hit it and especially when the Astros hit it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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