home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 16, 2018

AJ Hinch

Houston, Texas - pregame 3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for A.J. Hinch.

Q. Could you talk to us a little bit about Carlos Correa's tough year, the injuries this year? And secondly Alex told us yesterday about how important it was (indiscernible) school for him being head coach right now, a manager. Could you talk to us about Alex Cintron and Joe Espada possibilities in the future?
A.J. HINCH: To answer your first question, Carlos has had to battle a couple different things throughout the year and it's been a broken year for him medically. And he's had to endure that. He's had something almost every year of his career. He's been -- he's had to toughen himself up and get through it.

The good part about Carlos is he'll always post when he's available. I never doubt whether he wants to play, whether he can play. He's had to battle some swing adjustments along the way and some aches and pains and missed some time. But I think sometimes you have to remind people he's a really good player and he has a chance to have great impact. He's had some big hits for us this postseason, maybe not at the rate that we're all accustomed to. But at the same time I trust him when he's on the field and he's a really good player.

So the second part of your question is we've been fortunate around here to have a number of guys, quality coaches that have been here and have now gone on to other jobs.

I haven't had the same staff year to year for a couple of years and that's because people are coming and grabbing guys and taking them to new positions. Alan Zinter and Alonzo Powell have gone on to be hitting coaches elsewhere. Trey Hillman went to be a manager in Korea. Alex Cora went to go be a manager in Boston. Craig Bjornson was here and went to the bullpen in Boston.

We have more in line. And obviously it's a great tribute to the development of these guys. We have quality people here, we have a good thing going, people want to come and interview our guys. Joe Espada and Alex Cintron and others in our organization have bright futures. Obviously Joe is getting a lot of attention in the manager positions around the league and rightfully so.

He's very good and I have no doubt in my mind he's going to be an excellent manager whenever somebody hires him.

Q. When you have Altuve as DH and an open spot at second, what makes Marwin your choice over Kemp as far as playing second base?
A.J. HINCH: Marwin is a really good infielder. And one of the best infielders we have at a couple of different positions. So I think my comfort with that is Marwin's an infielder by trade. We pushed him into the outfield because of the opening of the playing time.

He's developed into an excellent left fielder as well. But as far as turning the double play, range, his hands, his arm, we don't miss a beat with him in the infield. And he's filled in everywhere.

I'm often asked about Marwin and I say, "He's the answer for everything." When I need to play Jose at DH my answer is Marwin Gonzalez and Tony in the outfield. We're more comfortable with this alignment both at the beginning of the game and potentially the end of the game. And so this is the lineup that we went with.

Q. Alex Bregman gets obviously a lot of attention, understandably, for his swagger and all that. But when you think about him on the field, he's improved every year, what's the most impressive thing to you about his game? And what's the biggest way that he's improved over these three years?
A.J. HINCH: So on both sides of the ball he's improved since day one. I don't think young players get enough credit for the adjustments they make along the way and how fast we ask these guys to do that at this level.

For Alex, in particular, on the defensive side, he went from playing shortstop his whole life to playing third base in the Big Leagues in the span of a few games. We asked him to play third base a couple times in the minors and all of a sudden he's playing third base in the Big Leagues.

You're held to such a high standard nowadays analytically, from scouts, from analysts, from everybody in the industry now where his defense at third is largely underrated. And we're seeing that this year how good he's been. And we see it all the time.

I don't care how you want to grade defensive metrics and we can have an argument over an hour over the value of that. He's a really good third base and you're seeing it with your eyes.

On the offensive side, I've watched him go from being a good overall hitter to an incredibly dangerous hitter. These guys are pitching around him, and rightfully so. Yet he's still staying at the at-bat, he's taking good swings at pitches he can hit and taking his walks. The power numbers are through the roof -- both doubles and homers. And his discipline hasn't suffered because of it.

So to be an all around hitter, to move positions, two major adjustments that you're asking a guy with -- second overall in the draft to the Big Leagues in the blink of an eye is incredible.

Q. You talked about the multiple changes on your staff. It may not have been seamless, but how have you all made it seem seamless?
A.J. HINCH: Because the players. The players adapt to whatever coaching staff that we've had. And we certainly have a hard-working front office and analytics department and coaching staff and we work hard. I work hard to help implement with the coaching staff and we've had some mainstays. Brent Strom in the pitching department has been a mainstay before I got here and all through my tenure. So the adjustment for a new bullpen coach is very comfortable through him.

The hitting department, Dave Hudgens has been here since my first year, someone I've known a long time. Him working with an assistant hitting coach, a different one a couple different times he's been excellent.

The base coaches -- we have a good thing going because we work hard. And our coaching staff, we work hard on bringing the right pieces to help the players along the way. But the attitude is the same. The approach is the same. We expect you to evolve as a coach. And if an opportunity presents itself, whether we promote internally or whether we go out and try to get the best and brightest, jump on board and do your best.

Q. Piggybacking off Tyler, did you check Bregman's Instagram today? Is that a daily thing you'll do?
A.J. HINCH: It's not a daily thing I do. But I trust you guys to bring it up if anything controversial comes up. But I did not check it today. So I assume nothing happened. No news is -- no news.

Q. Secondly, with Marwin being in the lineup, after his run-in with the green monster the other night, obviously he's okay if he's in the lineup, but was there anything lingering where you were nervous if you'd be able to have him in the lineup tonight?
A.J. HINCH: I wasn't nervous about it because it's October. And if these guys can walk, they're going to play in some capacity. And I texted back and forth with him before I give our guys the lineup, and he said he'd be good to go. Our trainers have checked with him.

The lingering issues that any of our guys have, you know, are going to linger until the season is over and we hope that not to be for a couple more weeks.

I don't have any issues. I don't have any concerns. I don't think he's going to be limited in any capacity. Almost in its entirety I don't think anyone is 100 percent across the board on either team. But it's October. These guys will be fine.

Q. Could you talk to us a little bit about Martin Maldonado approach to the Houston Astros, his contributions to this team? And so far a very tough two games, first games behind the plate. Do you have a comment?
A.J. HINCH: Well, his approach has been great since he got here. He jumped on board. He gained the pitchers' trust. He gained my trust. He worked tremendously well with our advanced scouting and has adapted well to the Astros way of doing things. He's intellectually curious, he's always asking questions, he's inclusive -- all things that I think are important as a catcher on a championship caliber team.

His first two games, you know, we asked a lot out of him. And I know he got a little bit uncomfortable the other day in the eighth inning. I don't know if it was two bad games as much as it was a couple of situations, a couple of tough balls to block, end up scoring a run. Got a little uncomfortable with McCullers. I think one was a little cross-up and one was he just missed.

Again, I think all those things are magnified this time of year where we expect our guys to be perfect. But I trust him with the game on the line. If he's back there today in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning, he's one of the most gifted catchers I've ever been around. He can throw, he can block, he can catch. He runs a great game. Again, all the things that you ask out of a winning catcher.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297