PHOENIX — As he put on his No. 3 Arizona Diamondbacks uniform, Chip Hale smiled.
“Feels like coming home again,” he said.
It had been five years since Hale last wore the Sedona red. Back then, he was the D-backs’ third base/infield coach. Now, he’s the organization’s manager, introduced at a press conference Monday at Chase Field.
“It was an exciting time to interview. I’ve done it a couple of times and really felt good when I walked into that room,” he said. “I felt like this is where I belong, so I’m just glad to be home.”
Though Hale, 49, has an extensive minor league managerial record — which includes the 2006 Pacific Coast League and Triple-A Championship — this is his first opportunity at the MLB level.
Following his first stint with the D-backs, Hale served as the New York Mets’ third base/infield coach in 2010-11. He was the Oakland A’s bench coach from 2012-14, where he was reunited with manager Bob Melvin, whom he served under for three seasons (2007-09) with the D-backs.
“(Hale) was at the top of a really significant list of candidates,” said chief baseball officer Tony LaRussa before thanking the eight other candidates who interviewed for the position: Sandy Alomar, Jr., Jay Bell, Tim Bogar, Andy Green, Joe McEwing, Phil Nevin, Jim Tracy and Turner Ward.
Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart touted Hale’s 28 years of professional baseball experience that included a 12-year playing career highlighted by seven seasons in the majors.